1. As you probably know, you can leave your iPad (and even your Kindle) in your carryon bag. Unlike your laptop, it doesn’t need to ride through in its own bin.
2. Paper boarding passes are for chumps. Almost all major airlines now let you rely on a barcode pass on your iPhone’s screen. If you’re going to use one, though, take a screenshot of it on the iPhone (by holding down the home and lock buttons simultaneously).
Extra-bonus tip: Go into your iPhone’s photos, and set the boarding pass barcocde as your wallpaper. Then you can simply lock and unlock your phone to show off the code. When you’re checking email as you shuffle through the long security line, it’s comforting to know that you won’t need to quickly exit the Mail app and load up the boarding pass with a series of tap; just lock and unlock and you’re ready to go.
Note that security is unacceptably more lax when you go the iPhone route; I frequently find that the boarding pass screeners just wave me through when they see the barcode on my iPhone. Yes, they’ll scan it before you board the plane, but you could in theory get pretty far into the airport’s so-called “secure area” without a legit boarding pass when the TSA doesn’t scan your iPhone’s barcode.
Remember, contrary to what 99% of air travelers think, you don’t need to show your boarding pass as you go through the metal detector. This is especially true if your pass is on your iPhone, which has to go through the x-ray machine.
3. I also like to take an iPhone photo of my parking space in the enormous airport lot, so that I can find it more easily upon my return.