How to Avoid Airport Lines

TSA PreCheck

Have you ever had your chest tighten while you waited in a slow-moving-airport-security line? Have you ever rushed to the customs line only to stand behind dozens of travelers, and thought you’d never make your connection?  TSA PreCheck and Global Entry Memberships have helped solve these problems by expediting the security process.

The TSA PreCheck line is used for travel departure in the United States. Including wait time, passing through security can take as little as five minutes. Also, there is no need to remove shoes, laptops, compliant liquids, belts and light jackets or sweaters.

 TSA PreCheck Application Process

  • You submit an online application and pay $85 for a five-year membership.
  • Within a few weeks of submitting the application, TSA will send a confirmation email enabling you to set up an appointment at one of their offices.
  • The documents listed here are needed for the appointment.
  • A typical appointment lasts ten minutes, not counting wait time, and includes an interview, a background check, and fingerprinting.
  • You will receive your TSA PreCheck status in writing usually within two to three weeks after the appointment, or you can check online.
  • If approved, you will receive your Known Traveler Number. When you book a flight, you add your KTN to the reservation and the ticket should have TSA PreCheck printed on it.

Global Entry

With Global Entry, when arriving from another country, there is no need to fill out customs declaration forms or wait in immigration or customs lines. Instead, you use a kiosk and go through a few steps within a few minutes. The kiosk scans your passport, takes your photo and fingerprints, and you answer a few questions that are on this site. If you answer no to all questions, you receive a receipt, and hand it to the customs officer as you exit; however, if you answer yes to any questions, your receipt will have an X, that directs you to a Customs Border Patrol Agent.

 Global Entry Application Process

  • You fill out an online form at this website and pay a nonrefundable $100 application fee.
  • Within a few weeks, you should receive an email confirming that you can set up an appointment at one of the Homeland Security offices usually found in airports.
  • The confirmation email should contain the list of relevant documents needed for the interview. If you can’t get an interview before a scheduled trip, you can usually walk in.
  • At the interview, the agent will take your fingerprints, run a background check, take your photo, and ask a few questions. The agent may ask about your occupation and travel. He may also ask if you have an arrest record.
  • After the interview, upon approval, you can start using your benefits immediately for air travel. The Global Entry card is needed for border crossing and may take four-six weeks.

Also, a Global Entry membership qualifies you for a TSA PreCheck membership, but TSA PreCheck does not give you Global Entry benefits.

TSA PreCheck and Global Entry memberships have been well worth the time and money. They make travel more efficient and pleasant. Do you use TSA PreCheck or Global Entry? What is your experience?


GratiTuesday: Airport security lines

Here’s How To Skip Insane Lines With Global Entry And TSA Pre-Check

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