There are over 16,400,000 flights in the United States yearly. That’s almost 45,000 flights a day. With so many people flying, it’s no surprise that pre-flight security can take a long time. To combat this, the TSA has changed how they operate. There are several handy airport expediting programs for domestic and international travelers that will help you get to your terminal on time. Use pre-screening to avoid long lines and missed connections to and from your airport transportation. Here’s a breakdown of the four major airport expediting programs.
Global Entry for International Airport Transportation
Are you tired of getting held up at customs often when entering the United States? Global Entry is a U.S. Customs program that provides expedited entry to the country for low-risk travelers. Signing up is relatively inexpensive. Five years of Global Entry only costs about $100. After you’ve been approved, you can check in with U.S Customs using an automatic kiosk at the terminal. All you have to do is present your passport or U.S. Government ID to the kiosk, scan your fingerprints, and complete a short customs declaration. The kiosk will print off a receipt, and you’re good to go! Naturally, you’ll have to pass a complete and thorough background check to be approved for the Global Entry program.
TSA PreCheck for Domestic Airport Transportation
On average, it takes TSA PreCheck members less than 5 minutes to pass through TSA. Over 200 domestic airports participate in the TSA PreCheck program, and there are over 10 million active members. A five year subscription only costs $85, and it’s absolutely worth the money. TSA PreCheck members get to keep their shoes, belts, and jackets on when they reach the TSA checkpoint. You can also keep several liquids in your carry-on bag. To sign up, you’ll need to pass a background check and appear for a short 10-minute interview. After you’re approved, your fingerprints are added to their database.
CLEAR for Quick Airport and Stadium Access
Don’t want to deal with any government organizations? CLEAR is a private program with over two million active members. CLEAR allows you to skip the long lines and go straight to the TSA podium. After your carry-on is screened, you’re good to go. Unfortunately, you’ll still have to remove your shoes and belt during the TSA check. Although you skip the initial line, you still have to go through a standard screening. If you want to truly skip the lines, TSA PreCheck is the best option. One of the biggest perks of CLEAR, is that it can be used outside of the airport. Large venues like stadiums also use CLEAR to help expedite the security process.
CLEAR costs $15 a month. Over, the long term it costs a bit more than some other programs. However, CLEAR offers fast enrollment. After you sign up online, simply enter your biometric data into a CLEAR kiosk at a participating airport. Then you’re all clear to use the CLEAR lane.
Mobile Passport for Free Screening
Are you traveling internationally on a budget? Mobile Passport is a free app that can help you get through airport customs and re-entry quicker. All you have to do is download the app, save your basic information. This includes your passport number, expiration date, photo id, and a standard customs form. When you get back to the U.S., simply go to a Mobile Passport kiosk and scan your phone. The kiosk will print a QR code that you then bring to the customs podium. They’ll scan the code and have all of your information immediately. This can shave a lot of time off getting through customs and immigration.
There’s also a premium version of this app called Mobile Passport Plus. It only costs $4.99 a year, and includes a bunch of extra features. If you spring for Plus, you’ll get a document scanner, passport storage, and no ads.
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