Airport Security…Clear As Mud
Delayed flights, relocated gates and unpredictable security lines can make domestic travel stressful and time consuming. Many delay-causing factors are beyond travelers’ control, but waiting in the long security line doesn’t need to be one of them. Educated travelers know they can experience minimized wait times thanks to programs that expedite airport security.
|SERVICE||COST||EXPIRATION||# PARTICIPATING AIRPORTS||SCENARIO|
|TSA Pre ✓||$85.00||5 years||200||Domestic|
|Global Entry||$100.00||5 years||60||International|
TSA Pre ✓
Apply online or go to the center in the airport. We recommend scheduling an appointment online or calling 1-866-289-9673.
- Shoes, belts and jackets remain on passengers.
- Laptops and liquids remain in carry-on bags.
- Shorter lines
Global Entry is for international travelers. The interview process is tedious. It includes a background check and meeting with an immigration officer at a participating airport for questioning, fingerprinting and eye scanning. Travelers with Global Entry are automatically approved for TSA Pre ✓.
- All benefits of TSA Pre ✓
- Faster processing through shorter customs lines upon re-entering the United States.
CLEAR is a privately owned company that can enhance the travel experience for all travelers. It allows passengers to skip the line for ID check and directs them to the appropriate screening area. Travelers register online or at participating airport locations. If the enrollment process begins online, you will still need to visit an airport location to scan your fingerprints and irises and present your driver’s license. No appointment is required and the process takes five to ten minutes. Once enrolled, benefits can be used immediately. While CLEAR is the fastest and most predictable way to get through airport security it is also the most expensive.
These programs are helpful tools that can expedite the security process at participating airports. Note: Random security checks, heavy travel days, storms and other situations will still cause delays; even for those enrolled. Always pack a generous supply of patience in your carry-on.
Ricky’s Airport Anecdote
It’s clear, but not so CLEAR. Sally, my wife, and I flew from Atlanta today and the airport was very crowded. She went through traditional TSA Pre ✓ and I went through CLEAR. While the experience (my second) was nice and there was a plethora of CLEAR employees directing traffic, Sally completed her screening a few minutes before I did. The jury is still out. Based on the annual $179 fee and limited airport coverage, I may not renew my CLEAR membership but will still enjoy expedited security screening with Global Entry/TSA Pre ✓. That’s pretty clear.
About Michelle Stiles
Michelle Stiles, Director of Technology and Operational Excellence for Aladdin Travel, has been in the travel industry since 1997. Prior to joining Aladdin Travel, she worked in the Corporate Travel Department for a major retailer. She enjoys traveling with her husband and 3 boys.