With TSA PreCheck the Line is Behind You
In a hurry to catch a plane? How often do you find yourself doing the “stiletto dash” to the gate only to run straight into a wall of passengers stuck in the security line as single TSA agent, seemingly on Thorazine, squints to read, one passport at a time, look at the person, have them remove their glasses or hat, give some more squints and then finally put the “go”mark on the boarding pass – two minutes each, and there must be 60 people in front of you.
This wouldn’t be you, however, with a TSA PreCheck (TSA Pre?™) registration number. You would be sipping a Starbucks and thinking about what magazines you wanted to read on the plane.
$85 Buys Five Years of Pre-Flight Freedom
Registering with PreCheck is a simple solution – and one that makes sense for people who fly a lot. For $85 and a few minutes of application effort done a few weeks before your next flight, you can be on your way via the short line through participating airlines and airports with shoes tied and computers zipped tight. That time and effort buys five years of PreCheck. OK, you must be a U.S. citizen, you must pass the vetting test and have not had links with a known terrorist network, and you must submit your fingerprints. Then, voilà! you get your “Known Traveler Number” that allows you to sail through security lines. PreCheck travelers get to keep their shoes tied, wear their light outerwear and belts on, and even keep laptop computers in cases at security checkpoints. Surprisingly, these small privlleges go along way in lessening stress and saving time.
The Global Entry Bonus
U.S. citizens who are members of a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Trusted Traveler program, including Global Entry, SENTRI, and NEXUS, and Canadian citizens who are members of NEXUS, have already been vetted. They have a “Known Traveler Number” and are able to expedite their travel on departure and arrival.
Travelers who have registered with Global Entry, in its fifth year of operation, already know the value of having a passport that allows them to skip the snaking immigration stamp lines when they return to the U.S. from points abroad. Rather, they take their passport to a waiting kiosk (there are always inworking order and there is rarely a line), verify identity through finger prints, answer the auto-questions, take their approval receipt and head directly to a special CBP exit line – another dedicated service line that rarely has any other people in it — while their fellow travelers inch along, bags stacked on carts, waiting for their final pass through the border authorities before leaving the arrivals area.
Currently, nearly 300 Global Entry kiosks are available at 34 American airports. To obtain Global Entry, an application can be filled out online and a $100 application fee is paid for the five-year privilege of sailing through the U.S. arrivals side of international travel.
Both programs show progress by Homeland Security to expedite the often-painful drudgery of clearing airport immigration and security, whether coming or going.
The new PreCheck program is currently available for eligible passengers traveling on Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways and Virgin America. Initially, rolled out through the frequent flyer membership departments of participating airlines, application is available now for all U.S. travelers by visiting this TSA Page.
Airports with PreCheck and/or Global Entry
Applicants must get their fingerprints taken at a participating TSA Global Entry and PreCheck airport. The list is growing (last updated in September 2013) but currently includes these airports:
- Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) (PreCheck only)
- Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI)
- Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT)
- Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
- Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) (PreCheck only)
- Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) (PreCheck only)
- Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
- Denver International Airport (DEN)
- Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW)
- Dulles International Airport (IAD)
- Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL)
- George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
- Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
- Honolulu International Airport (HNL)
- Indianapolis International Airport (IND) (PreCheck only)
- John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
- John Wayne Airport (SNA)
- LaGuardia Airport (LGA) (PreCheck only)
- Lambert-St. Louis International Airport (STL) (PreCheck only)
- Logan International Airport (BOS)
- Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
- Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport (SJU)
- McCarren International Airport (LAS)
- Memphis International Airport (MEM) (PreCheck only)
- Miami International Airport (MIA)
- Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP)
- Nashville International Airport (BNA) (PreCheck only)
- Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
- Orlando International Airport (MCO)
- Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)
- Phoenix International Airport (PHX)
- Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) (PreCheck only)
- Portland International Airport (PDX)
- Raleigh–Durham International Airport (RDU)
- Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) (PreCheck only)
- Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC)
- San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
- Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
- Tampa International Airport (TPA)
- Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) (PreCheck only)
Access Global Entry’s Trusted Traveler Network here: www.globalentry.gov/