By now you’ve likely heard the unfortunate truth: Our shared nightmare (aka the airport security line) is stretching longer and moving slower than ever before. The summer travel season is upon us, and there’s no end in sight. In fact, the problem is so bad that it’s trending on social media under #tsalines; however, angry tweeting is little comfort to frustrated travelers left behind and awaiting pat-downs as their planes depart with seats unfilled.
We can’t fix the system, but we can offer a possible, literal way around it. With TSA Pre√ or Global Entry (GOES) status, you’re granted access to a VIP shorter line. You keep your shoes on, and the odds of exiting security unscathed, untouched, and in time to board your flight increase dramatically. Of course, there’s always the possibility of assault from envious fellow travelers who lack this special designation. Avert your eyes as you pass them by.
The truth is, TSA Pre√ and Global Entry are available to any American traveler in good standing. All you have to do is apply online, pay a fee, pass a fairly rigorous background check, and show up for a five-minute, pre-arranged interview.
Here’s how you skip to the front of the line:
1. Choose the program that’s right for you.
TSA Pre√ is for people who fly mainly within the USA. It provides faster security screening at domestic airports and costs $85 for a five-year period. Apply online here.
Global Entry entitles you to all the benefits of TSA Pre√ PLUS expedited clearance through customs when returning to the USA from other countries. The fee is $100 for a five-year period, and you apply here. If you travel abroad or even think you might, it makes sense to pay the extra $15 for GOES to get the benefits of both programs.
2. If you are an American Express Platinum card member and pay with your card, AMEX will reimburse you for the fee. (As an added bonus, the Platinum AMEX card also gives you access to Delta airport lounges for free food, drink, and Wi-Fi – a great way to pass the extra time once you breeze through security.)
3. Your TSA Pre√ or GOES number MUST be printed on your boarding pass every time you fly. Enter it in your airline frequent flier accounts and share with your travel advisor/booking agent.
4. TSA Pre√ and GOES are not 100% guaranteed to grant you trouble-free travel. We want our TSA agents to be sticklers for safety, so sometimes you will be pulled aside for further inspection. But it will be a kinder, gentler screening. And your feet won’t see the light of day.
*If you’re traveling without Pre√ or GOES this summer, some airlines recommend arriving at the airport 3 hours prior to departure for both domestic and international flights.
Caroline Travels the World (swiftly and securely)…and So Can You.
#tsapre #tsagoes #airportease #carolinetravelstheworld