Next to the actual packing, airport security is probably the worst part of traveling. With news of airport rules changing so much this year, regulations can make traveling a beast to handle. If you play your cards right though, these changes will be like water to a duck’s back, and you will continue navigating the airport like the pro you are.
Lets start with TSA PreCheck. It is a government program that allows expedited screening so you can whiz past standard security lines, and head straight to your gate. As a PreCheck passenger, you will not have to remove shoes, belts, jackets, liquids, or laptops. On average, PreCheck members wait around 5 minutes for a light scan and after signing up, attend a brief background check appointment, in which fingerprints are taken. Applicant are then notified by mail within 3 weeks if approved.
If biometric scans are not too futuristic for you, Clear is another service that helps you jump line without sneers. In the airport, simply find a Clear kiosk and ask an attendant to help you get started. On the kiosk, you will answer a few questions, scan your passport, and have retinal and fingerprint scans done there . From that flight forward, you will not have to strip down, or unpack anything, and you also skip the document check line which is a burden unto its own. Clear is more expensive than TSA PreCheck, but select Delta Members can receive Clear for free. Sign up in the airport or online.
Global Entry is another government offering that is made available through the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Program and allows pre-vetted travelers expedited entry when coming back to the United States. A pin is provided to Global Entry passengers and with a fingerprint scan, a receipt is given that lets passengers go directly to baggage claim, customs, and then on to the next stop of their trip. Program is largely for U.S. residents, but with certain restrictions allow people of Canada, U.K., Germany, South Korea, and other nations are allowed to participate. Check for eligibility in your country.
Finally, the best way to skip customs lines at the airport is Mobile Passport. This FREE iPhone and Android App lets you enter flight and passport information to your phone and generate a receipt to show at customs checkpoints. Mobile Passport users create a profile to start, and from then on, answer customs questions, submit a selfie, airline, and destination airport on their App to get a voucher to clear United States customs and that’s it! Mobile Passport is free and though some of these options to skip long security lines at the airport seem expensive, they are worth saving the hair you lose from long line frustration.