How to Reduce your Wait Time at Airport Security Checkpoints

 

With the ever increasing lines at airport security checkpoints, travelers are becoming more frustrated with the lengthy delays.

There are some options that may reduce your wait time–and that is becoming a member of the TSA Pre√® program or the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Trusted Traveler Programs:  Global Entry, SENTRI, or NEXUS.

Members of these programs are considered low-risk and can receive expedited screening in a separate lane at security checkpoints at more than 160 participating airports in the U.S. (and the list is growing).  They are assigned a Known Traveler Number (KTN) that needs to be given when making reservations with one of the participating airlines.  The airline will print this information on the boarding pass that will then be read by TSA at security checkpoints.

Current Participating TSA Pre® Airlines (check with your airline for updates):

You will need to fly on one of the following airlines in order to be eligible for expedited screening:  Alaska, Allegiant, American, Air Canada, Copa Airlines, Delta Air, Dominican Wings, Hawaiian, InterCaribbean Airways, JetBlue, OneJet, Silver Airways, Singapore Airlines, Southwest, Sun Country, Swift Air, Turkish Airlines, United, US Airways, Virgin America, and WestJet.

Benefits:

  • Low-risk travelers can experience expedited security screening and faster moving lines at TSA Pre√® lanes at many U.S. airports.
  • Travelers do not have to remove their belt, shoes, laptop, jacket, or 3-1-1 compliant bag when going through security (unless asked to do so during random checks).
  • Children 12 and under can go through TSA Pre√® lanes if they are traveling with a parent who is a member. Note:  Any family members ages 13 and up must go through standard security lanes if they are not a member.

           Photo from tbo

How to Apply for Membership:

Check into the different programs and decide which one would be most beneficial for you.

  •  TSA Pre® – Apply online at TSA.gov/tsa-precheck. Membership is good for 5 years and the application fee is $85.
  • Trusted Traveler Programs – Apply online at GetYouHome.gov, GlobalEntry.gov, or CBP.gov.  Membership is good for 5 years and the application fee is: $100 for Global Entry, $50 for NEXUS, and $122 for SENTRI

 Application Requirements:

  • Proof of citizenship (passport, certified birth certificate, Canadian citizenship certificate or card)
  • Proof of permanent residency (valid driver’s license or federal identification card)
  • Must be 14 years of age or older
  • Submission of an application will generally require an interview with a U.S. border representative
  • You cannot have a criminal record
  • Fingerprinting and a retina scan is requiredDepartures Airport Sign Free Image Download

 Members of the Armed Forces:

The TSA Pre√® expedited screening process includes all of our honorable Members of the Armed Forces, as well as those serving in the U.S. Coast Guard, Reserves, and National Guard.  They can use their Department of Defense Identification number when making flight reservations, and they do not have to apply to the program, since they are automatically included.  They can travel on personal or official travel and do not need to travel in their uniform.

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 For insightful travel ideas, check out my book:

Know Before You Go:  Traveling the U.S. and Abroad

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Know Before You Go:  Traveling the U.S. and Abroad by [Patterson, Stephanie Tehan]

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and wherever books are sold

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