Want to Avoid Those Long Airport Lines?

 

Everyone who is a traveler at one time or another has gotten stuck in a long TSA security line. As you stand there waiting your turn, you start to wonder “what are they going to take out of my carry-on this time because it’s not within regulation.

You start stressing wondering if you arrived at the airport early enough to go through security to make your flight without rushing (hoping your deodorant holds). You begin looking around asking yourself “where are all these people going”. Well, there are two different means in which to get quickly through security – not avoid security – but to move swiftly through security.

One is TSA Pre (Transportation Security Administration) which is part of the Department of Homeland Security. The second, Global Entry Program, U.S Customs and Border Protection, which is also part of the Department of Homeland Security.

Have you considered getting either a TSA Pre number or a Global Entry card because there is a difference between the two? Have you ever noticed there are two security check points at the airport? At one station, there is a long line but if you look down the hallway a security guard is looking at tickets and/or a card; these travelers have either a TSA Pre number or Global Entry card – expediting their security screening.

If you travel “only” within the confines of the United States, all you need is the TSA PreBut, if you are someone who travels both in and outside the United States, you should consider the Global Entry card which is also your TSA Pre. To obtain either is easy. The TSA Pre number is valid for five (5) years and the cost is eighty-five ($85.00) dollars. To apply, go to www.tsa.gov and complete the application form.

After completing and submitting the application form, if you qualify, you will receive a TSA Pre eligibility notice via email advising the next step. The Global Entry card is also valid for five (5) years and the cost is one hundred ($100.00) dollars. To apply go to www.cbp.gov  complete and submit the application form. If you qualify, you will receive a notice via email advising of the next step. If you have a TSA Pre number, the Global Entry number will supersede that number (TSA number will be voided).

I just completed the process for a Global Entry card and found it not difficult. The worse part was the length of time waiting for the interview date.

I received notification of preapproval in August and was surprise to find the earliest appointment date was in the month of December- a wait of four (4) months.

Whichever one you choose, TSA Pre or Global Entry card, is totally your choice. But think about how you travel or plan to travel in the future. If you plan to stay within the confines of the United States, I would suggest a TSA Pre.  But if traveling both in and outside the United States, think about a Global Entry card.  Two things – (1) The Global Entry card will not eliminate random searching of luggage.  (2) If you violate any rules or regulations, this privilege will be revoked.

Whatever you do, don’t think either of these cards will keep you from a “random search”.  Wrong; no one knows who they will stop at baggage claim and do a random search of your luggage.  No one knows – that’s why it called “random search”.  What you decide is entirely your decision but think about incorporating either a TSA Pre number or Global Entry card as part of your travel information or documents.    Courtesy of B. Hayes

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