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2 Ways to Skip Those Long Airport Lines

Have you ever wondered how some people can bypass all the long security lines at the airport? The truth is they are just ordinary people like you and me who have taken the time to apply for the privilege of going through an expedited security process. They have TSA Pre-Check and/or Global Entry. Keep reading to find out if you need one or both of these.

What's the Main Difference?

TSA is for travelers who only fly domestically and don't have a passport.

Global Entry is for travelers who fly internationally as well as domestically.

How Can TSA Pre-Check Help Me?

TSA Pre Check can assist travelers who fly domestically skip those long lines and get to the gate faster. So, for those of you like me who are always running just a little behind, this can be a game changer!

Another major reason to apply for TSA is that you get to keep your shoes on! You don't have to take off your jacket or your belt. And, for me, I don't have to take out my laptop which is always with me when I travel. In fact, your TSA compliant liquids can even stay in your carryon. Maybe this doesn't sound like much to you, but just the fact that my feet won't touch the floor is almost enough for me!

With TSA Pre-Check You Don't Have to Remove

One drawback to TSA Pre-Check is that it may not be available or even open at all airports at the time of your flight. My flights are usually very early in the morning especially if I have an international flight. There have been times at 5am that I have seen many frustrated people waiting in the TSA Pre-Check line when there was no one there. However, the regular line was flowing. But, most of the time, this is not the case.

There is an application process for TSA Pre-Check and the cost is $85 for a five-year membership. After applying online and paying the fee, you will need to go to a certified enrollment center for a quick interview, fingerprinting, and photo. Once everything checks out, you should receive your approval within a couple of weeks.

So, now you are approved and ready to book that trip. One thing that you MUST do is enter your KTN, which you will receive upon approval, when you are buying those airline tickets. Or if you are working with your trusted travel advisor, make sure that you provide your number to make sure you don't miss out on the benefits!

How Can Global Entry Help Me?

Global Entry helps travelers returning from international trips skip those LONG customs lines! This past summer was absolutely unbelievably busy. Travelers nor the airport employees were ready for such a surge. The re-entry process into the US through customs sometimes took two hours causing many people to miss their connecting flights.

When you have Global Entry, there is a special set of kiosks just for those people and if you will notice, most of the time, they are fairly empty. And, the BEST thing about it is, you will automatically be approved for TSA Pre-Check at the same time when you are approved for Global Entry.

There is an application process for Global Entry You will go online and fill out a rather lengthy application and pay the fee of $100 (remember it includes TSA Pre-Check, so it's a great value for just $15 more) .Make sure to have your valid passport handy and your driver's license. Once you have submitted your application, you will receive an email saying (hopefully) that you have been conditionally approved.

The next step will be to set up an interview at an accredited facility to complete the process. This is where it may get time-consuming. Interview slots can be few and far between and months out. In fact, I was conditionally approved last year, but am just now on my way to my interview due to scheduling conflicts on my part and the limited availability.

Pro Tip: Some international airports will allow you to "walk-in" for an interview if you are returning from an international flight. I have tried this unsuccessfully a couple of times because I either didn't have enough connecting time or they had already closed. But, always check to see if it might be an option for you.

Once approved, you will receive an email with a Known Traveler Number (KTN) and will receive a physical ID card in the mail. Anytime you fly, make sure to put in your KTN or if you are working with your trusted travel advisor, make sure to relay the info.

Pro tip: When you fly, make sure to set up an account with that airline so you can accrue points and enter you KTN in your profile, that way it is automatically applied when you book the flight.

Did Someone Say FREE?

Yes, you can sometimes get Global Entry for FREE! Some credit card companies will actually reimburse you the $100 application fee when you use that card to pay for it. Mine did! I have a Capital One Venture Card, so once I paid the fee, it was refunded to my card automatically. So, even if you are not a frequent flier, Global Entry can still make that special trip even better.

Pro Tip: Beware of websites claiming to help you apply for Global Entry. They typically charge a higher fee for their service. The official website is linked above.

Bottom Line:

Airports can be stressful enough. Apply for Global Entry and have the best of both worlds! Don't have a passport? Apply for one today . You never know what opportunity might knock on your door and you sure don't want to miss it!

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