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I’ll Meet You at the Gate!

How to Skip Long Airport Lines

By A'Dia G

Have you ever noticed the separate security lines in the airports? What about the groups of people bypassing the massive crowd in those LONGGGGG security and custom lines? You may have missed the signs.... I’m speaking of the TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry signs that you might not have seen going through security and customs. If you haven't noticed by now, those lines are shorter! Let me give you a quick breakdown on two frequent flyer programs that are well worth their application process!


TSA Pre-Check

For this specific frequent traveler program, the perks are quite simple and honestly worth it! For $85, this five-year membership will allow you to bypass those long TSA lines at the airport. An application, fingerprinting and a background investigation must be completed before you receive a KTN or known traveler number. You are then able to add the KTN to your preferred airline frequent flyer profile. This registered KTN will “mark” your boarding pass to indicate that you have TSA Pre-check. During my experiences, I have noticed that if you check-in via a mobile app the TSA Pre-Check mark is usually not indicated on the plane ticket. This is just something to be aware of, I have to remind myself to check-in on my laptop for my flights!

Now to the best part! With TSA Pre-Check you will not have to worry about removing the following items from either yourself or your bags: shoes, laptops, belts, light jackets or those annoying three-ounce liquid bags in your carry-on. That’s not all! Children under the age of twelve can enjoy these perks of TSA Pre-Check with their parent or guardian. Did I forget to mention that you have a separate security line?

This traveler program is best for those that travel a lot within the country. You are also able to use TSA Pre-Check when travelling outside of the US to an international destination. This perk is also available going through security when coming back into the US with a connection to a domestic flight. Those with TSA Pre-Check however will not be able to use the Global Entry lines.


Global Entry

Personally, I skipped right around TSA Pre-Check and went right to Global Entry! For my people new to international travel, this is an amazing program to consider applying to. I will list the perks upfront with this program! For those that obtain Global Entry, you will experience reduced wait times at customs coming back into the US. Trust me, those separate lines move quicker than the regular ones! Also, if technology is on your side, and for the majority it is, you will not have to worry about filling out the Customs’ Declarations forms. Once in the Global Entry line at customs, you will use a kiosk to fill out those declarations questions. The best bonus, those with Global Entry basically have TSA Pre-Check!

For Global Entry, there is a $100 fee that will cover membership for a duration of five years! Once approved you will be given a Global Entry ID card with a KTN (known as the PASSID on the card) to use for your frequent flyer programs. For this program, you will also endure the application, fingerprinting and background investigation. However this frequent flyer program is more strict than that of TSA Pre-Check. There is a possibility that you may not be approved for Global Entry due to certain circumstances. It is good to mention now that the $100 is nonrefundable. Personally, I was nervous waiting on my Global Entry approval. The application review process can take a long time. For this process, if you had any past or have any pending criminal offenses this may also hinder your chances of obtaining Global Entry.


Overall both of these frequent flyer programs are worth it! There are more frequent flyer programs than the two that I have mentioned here. Do your research and determine the best program that best suits your travel needs!

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