Tricks and tips to Get In and Out of the Airport Faster

Mar 21

Getting through the airport can seem like walking through Dante’s version of limbo—a soulless, event-less place where you do nothing but wait, wait, wait. However, it doesn’t have to take so long! There are actually several tricks to help you get through the airport in a jiffy. Here are a few of the best!

Think Things Through

A friend of mine once took a Little League team on a flight. Everything was going just fine, until one little boy pointed at another child on the team who had a pacemaker. “Don’t check him!” He said loudly, “He’s got wires in him!” Of course, this simple sentence set the entire team back quite some time as the TSA agents carefully screened and scanned the poor little bomb threat. When you’re in the airport, be careful what you say!

Also, be careful what you bring. It might seem obvious, but don’t bring sharp things or other prohibited items. Leave fresh fruits and veggies at home if you’re going internationally, and pour out your water before you get there.

Join a Program

There are several programs you can join to get through the airport faster as shared on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's site.

The following chart outlines the Trusted Traveler programs offered by the Department of Homeland Security.

Agency

Transportation Security Administration

Customs and Border Protection

Program

TSA Pre®

Global Entry

NEXUS

SENTRI

Website

www.tsa.gov/tsa-precheck

www.globalentry.gov

NEXUS

SENTRI

Eligibility Required

U.S. citizens and U.S. lawful permanent residents.

U.S. citizens, U.S. lawful permanent residents and citizens of certain other countries.1

U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, Canadian citizens and lawful permanent residents of Canada.

Proof of citizenship and admissibility documentation.

Application Fee

$85.00 (5 year membership)

$100.00 (5 year membership)

$50.00 (5 year membership)

$122.25 (5 year membership)

Passport Required

No

Yes; or lawful permanent resident card

No

No

Application Process

Pre-enroll online, visit an enrollment center; provide fingerprints and verify ID.

Pre-enroll online, visit an enrollment center for an interview; provide fingerprints and verify ID.

Pre-enroll online, visit an enrollment center for an interview; provide fingerprints and verify ID.

Pre-enroll online, visit an enrollment center for an interview; provide fingerprints and verify ID.

Program Experience

TSA Pre✓® expedited screening at participating airports.

Expedited processing through CBP at airports and land borders upon arrival in the U.S..

Includes the TSA Pre✓®experience.

Expedited processing at airports and land borders when entering the U.S. and Canada.
Includes Global Entry benefits.

Includes the TSA Pre✓®benefits for U.S. citizens, U.S. lawful permanent residents and Canadian citizens.

Expedited processing through CBP at land borders.
Includes Global Entry and TSA Pre✓® benefits for U.S. citizens and U.S. lawful permanent residents.

Ready to apply?

Apply for TSA Pre✓® here

Apply for Global Entry here

Apply for NEXUS here

Apply for SENTRI here

Clear: Another alternative is the CLEAR program, which allows you quickly through lines with a fingerprint or retina scan. Currently, CLEAR costs $180 per year, but additional family members are just $50 and kids are free.

Do check your Credit Card company for any credits they may offer when using that card. American Express offers one Global Entry statement credit ($100) or one TSA Prestatement credit ($85) every 5 years for an application fee charged to an eligible American Express® Card.

By Breana Johnson

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