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May 24, 2016 / Retirementallychallenged.com

GratiTuesday: Airport security lines

OK, I’m kidding. As grateful as I am for the work TSA officers do, it’s hard to imagine—and some studies have shown—that security checkpoints provide much more than an illusion of safety. Lines are getting longer, flights are being missed, and passengers are losing patience. With the summer travel season just beginning, it doesn’t look promising for those of us planning to fly the friendly skies.

checkpoint

One of the (many) reasons cited for the long airline security lines is that fewer people than anticipated have applied for the government’s Trusted Traveler programs. PreCheck allows members to move through security faster and Global Entry can expedite the customs process.

Last month, my husband and I applied for our Global Entry enrollment and soon we will have our appointment with the Department of Homeland Security for our final approval. If all goes well, we will receive authorization to take advantage of these two programs.

If you are a U.S. citizen and travel regularly or plan to travel, you might want to look into these Trusted Traveler programs too:

  • PreCheck gives you expedited screening at participating U.S. airports. You can pre-enroll and pay the application fee online, then visit an enrollment center for verification and fingerprinting.
  • Global Entry, for international travelers, provides expedited processing through Customs and Border Protection. As with PreCheck, applications and fee payments are done online. After a background check is completed, you will be asked to come in for an interview, verification and fingerprinting. Your Global Entry enrollment includes PreCheck benefits.

You can find more about these programs at https://www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs.

With travel in our future, I am so grateful for these programs. Although airline travel isn’t what it used to be and long lines are apparently the new normal, PreCheck and Global Entry will help make the process a little easier… I hope.

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32 Comments

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  1. dconnollyislandgmailcom / May 24 2016 5:03 pm

    Great advice, Janis! I will check to see if there are Canadian versions of these programs.
    Donna
    http://www.retirementreflections.com

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / May 24 2016 5:19 pm

      I hope there is! Let us know.

    • Leah / May 25 2016 12:41 pm

      The Canadian version is the Nexus card and it’s great! We zip right through security lines at many airports and while driving across the Canada/US border. The first time we used it, we drove right past almost 200 cars, had about a 2 minute wait behind a semi, and breezed through. We were told that we saved over an hour. In my mind, the card was paid for on that one day!

      http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/prog/nexus/menu-eng.html

      Even though my wife and I have this card, we always give ourselves more time than suggested for getting through security. I refuse to add one more stressor to my travel. I’d rather get through security early and be bored on the other side, than be worried about missing a flight.

      • Retirementallychallenged.com / May 25 2016 3:54 pm

        We are going to be doing some cross-border auto traveling (U.S/Canada) later this summer. Global Entry will help us as we drive into the U.S, but probably not the other direction. To be honest, I hadn’t thought about those borders (duh). Maybe we should look into that too. Thanks for the info!

        • Leah / May 25 2016 5:24 pm

          Nexus is only for Canadians, but I imagine your Global Entry works both ways, as ours does.

          Happy to share info, and I’m sure I will learn plenty ftom you!

          • Retirementallychallenged.com / May 25 2016 5:32 pm

            I looked it up after reading your comment and I found that Nexus is for “U.S. citizens, U.S. lawful permanent residents, Canadian citizens and lawful permanent residents of Canada” so it sounds like I might be able to get it too (or, maybe it’s a different Nexus). But, it could be too late for our upcoming trip anyway. Hopefully Global Entry works both ways (hence the word “global” 🙂 )

          • Leah / May 25 2016 5:56 pm

            Look at that.. already learning from you. I had no idea it was for US residents, too!

  2. Keith / May 24 2016 5:06 pm

    Thanks for the information Janis. Most helpful.

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / May 24 2016 5:20 pm

      I hope you can use the info. Just make sure you give yourself some time before you travel… the process isn’t quick.

  3. patwdoyle11 / May 24 2016 5:36 pm

    Hmmm, traveling tomorrow, so will see how bad security lines are first-hand. Maybe I will be coming home and getting into that program.

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / May 25 2016 9:30 am

      I hope you made it through the lines in time for your flight! I guess it really depends on which airport you are using – some are definitely better than others. We felt that the PreCheck and Global Entry programs were worth the time and money.

  4. betsysbeat / May 24 2016 6:49 pm

    We have the Pre-Check clearance and I don’t understand why more people don’t do it. After I retired and lost my A-List Preferred status for Southwest (since I traveled so much for business) it was almost a non-event with the Pre-Check benefits. We’ll definitely enroll in the Global program before our next international trip.

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / May 25 2016 9:34 am

      I remember the days of being on Southwest’s A-List too! I think most people either don’t know about PreCheck, or didn’t realize that they could proactively sign up for it (I’ve been randomly assigned it in the past). Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to complete the Global Entry process if you decide to go for it.

  5. Terri Webster Schrandt / May 24 2016 8:48 pm

    I haven’t travelled much internationally, but when we’ve flown, we’ve gotten the TSA precheck at random. I saw this on the news today and it is scary. I guess we need to get to the AP much earlier now!

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / May 25 2016 9:36 am

      I’ve gotten the PreCheck status randomly in the past too. I figured that this way we didn’t need to rely on luck-of-the-draw. You might consider it if you plan to do any flying. The authorization is for five years and, I believe, worth the money.

  6. Joe / May 24 2016 9:26 pm

    You are doing your part to ease the airport security problems. Thanks for the info.

  7. Denise / May 24 2016 9:57 pm

    Had no problems with TSA coming over to Europe recently. I did not apply for Global Entry so I’ll see if I think it is worth it after I return. A friend who had pre-check still had issues with TSA.

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / May 25 2016 9:43 am

      I think a lot depends on the airport and probably even the time-of-day. When we arrived home from Cuba last year, our fellow travelers who had Global Entry had their wait times lessened substantially. That’s the first we heard about the program.

  8. Shelley / May 25 2016 6:27 am

    I LOVE global entry. It makes such a difference!
    Let me tell you, after going through security in India, Nepal and Tibet, the TSA looks really, really good to me!

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / May 25 2016 9:45 am

      Oh, I agree! We complain about our security hassles, but experiencing what goes on elsewhere makes us appreciate what we have. I’m glad to hear that you’ve had good luck with Global Entry!

  9. susan@onesmallwalk / May 25 2016 7:42 am

    I checked this out awhile back, and found it wouldn’t help so much at our small local airport, where we begin most travel. Maybe things have changed and the benefits are worth it now. Thanks for reminder – I’ll go see what’s new. (susan from marshasbungalow – changing my blog to onesmallwalk)

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / May 25 2016 10:02 am

      I wouldn’t imagine that lines would be too much of an issue for you locally, but maybe more so when you use other airports along your journeys. Also, if you travel internationally, you’d probably go through customs at a large airport so Global Entry could help. The programs aren’t free and they do take some time to get authorized, so a cost/benefit decision has to be made. I’m glad you pointed out your new blog name… I assume I’ll still get emails alerting me to your posts, but I’ll check.

  10. Encore Voyage / May 25 2016 7:47 am

    Thanks for the info, Janis!

  11. snakesinthegrass2014 / May 25 2016 8:42 am

    Boy, you had me with that headline for a moment. 🙂 Thanks for the info; very helpful to know. For a short period I was randomly chosen to have that designation on a temporary basis for some reason, and I did like the convenience.

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / May 25 2016 9:47 am

      I get randomly assigned PreCheck every one-in-awhile too. I figured this way, I don’t need to depend on winning the TSA lottery.

  12. Jill Foer Hirsch / May 25 2016 9:33 am

    Thanks for the great info! At least there are programs trying to make it a little easier to get through the airport. Gotta take what you can get!

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / May 25 2016 9:50 am

      The spotlight is now shining on airport security hassles so I imagine things will change a bit, but who knows how long that will take (certainly not before the summer travel season is over). Having these authorizations should help… I hope.

  13. Carol Ferenc / May 25 2016 2:25 pm

    Congrats on being proactive in order to lessen the pain, Janis. No airline flights in my future, so until they start doing security checks at state-to-state borders within the U.S., I guess I’m safe.

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