How to Easily Pass Through Airport Security to Walk Your Loved Ones to Their Gate
Remember the days of yore when you could walk friends and family to the gate and watch them board the plane?
That doesn’t fly in today’s world. Modern crippling security measures sideline you at the departures hall. There IS an easy way around this, however.
I recently dropped my friend Sarah off at the airport. Instead of going home, I decided to wait with her at the gate. And Southwest made it possible.
I’ll show you how effortless it can be to pass airport security and escort your loved ones to the gate, so you don’t have to miss them quite as long.
Southwest Is Helpful for When You Don’t Want to Say Goodbye
Southwest is unique in that you can cancel your flight up to 10 minutes before takeoff and get all your points and money back!
I searched the Southwest website for the cheapest one-way flight to anywhere. I would use the boarding pass to get past security, and as long as I cancelled my flight within 10 minutes of departure, I’d get effectively free access into the airport terminal.
I found a flight to Chicago for 3,250 Southwest points + $6, and booked it.
We arrived at the airport a little behind schedule, and I dropped Sarah off at the curb to ensure she had enough time to move through security. I then spent 10 minutes trying to find a parking spot.
I walked into the airport to find an outrageous line at TSA. Sarah doesn’t have TSA PreCheck yet (yeah, I know), so I knew she was in the line somewhere. I spent a couple minutes looking around, and when I didn’t find her, I went through the TSA PreCheck line.
I’ve got TSA PreCheck because I have a credit card that gives it to me for free. Several cards come with a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Citi Prestige, and The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN. But even if I couldn’t get it for free, I’d gladly pay $85 for the 5-year membership, because it’s such a time saver!
No exaggeration, I walked into the airport 15 minutes after her, and was through security 20 minutes before her.
Canceling a Southwest Flight Is Effortless
After I was through the security checkpoint, I simply opened the Southwest app and cancelled my reservation. My points were immediately redeposited, and the taxes & fees took very little time to refund to my card.
Obviously, if you do this you’ll be snatching an available seat from someone who might want it. So I recommend booking your pretend flight the same day you plan to use it, to minimize the chances that you’re ruining someone else’s travel plans (and ideally, a flight that doesn’t indicate limited seats). It doesn’t matter how much the ticket costs, you’ll get all your points and money back.
If you book your flight shortly before you enter security and cancel when you reach the other side, you’ll only decrease the number of available seats for a few minutes.
Note: If you buy a nonrefundable Southwest ticket with cash and cancel it 24+ hours later, Southwest will refund you with credit to use for a later flight. They will NOT refund the purchase to your card.
Miles & points are supposed to make you and the folks you care about happy. Sometimes that’s a grand gesture, like booking your parents a Business Class flight for their anniversary. Other times it may be using hotel points to visit grandma for Thanksgiving.
Or it could be something as simple as keeping a girl company while she waits at her gate.