Services to help speed up your trip through the airport

- Traveling can be stressful, especially moving through the world's busiest airport. The summer travel season is in full swing, and it's predicted to be the busiest ever, meaning longer lines and extra delays.

Whether you're heading to the airport for a family vacation, or you're just traveling on business, you want to get in and out of the airport as quickly as possible. There are services to help, but which one is right for you?

Security lines at the airport can be unpredictable and they can add stress if you're running late. "My travel is business related and I need to sit down and answer some voicemails, call people back and text people back. It makes it a lot better to get through the line and even if you're sitting and waiting to get on the flight, you're ready to get on the flight," says traveler Don Marinoni.

TSA PreCheck is one-way travelers are speeding through security. The program costs $85. It requires both an interview and background check, but it will last you 5 years. PreCheck moves you through a separate security line. There, you can leave everything on and leave everything in your bag.

More than 4 million travelers are now using TSA PreCheck, so even those lines are starting to grow.

"Even if you do the PreCheck, a lot of people are saying that you're waiting a little bit longer now since Atlanta is so busy," adds Marinoni.

That's opened the door for other subscription services. CLEAR uses biometrics, like eye scans and fingerprints, to confirm your identity using a CLEAR pod. The service clears you to bypass the identity check portion of security and moves you straight into the physical screening line. "It's really a peace of mind and helps me get some more business done," Marinoni explains why he joined.

CLEAR is available at 21 airports and is launching in more this year. "This one covers most of the cities I travel to, what's more, important to me is getting out of Atlanta, more than coming back," Marinoni says about CLEAR.

If you travel a lot internationally, Global Entry, one of the Trusted Traveler Programs through U.S. Custom and Border Protection, may be a good option for you.

"We're looking for the traveler who travels multiple times a year, people who make a lot of use of international facilities so those people who we know travel a lot are generally not an issue for us," says Port Director Carey Davis.

Once you're vetted, interviewed and fingerprinted through the program, you can use a Global Entry kiosk, to confirm your identity, bypassing a customs officer altogether. "It saves you time. Wait times in the summer, particularly, can be upwards of an hour or a little bit longer and generally you're clear within two minutes using Global Entry," says Director Davis.

The $100 Global Entry fee also covers TSA Pre-Check and is also good for 5 years.

CLEAR costs $179 a year to be a member, but there are some significant discounts for Delta SkyMiles members. Children under 18 can use CLEAR for free, with a member and a spouse can be added for $50.

TSA PreCheck allows only children 12 and under to accompany an adult, but each member of the family would need to be screened through Global Entry to use their service.

For more information:

  • https://www.tsa.gov/precheck
  • https://www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/global-entry
  • https://www.clearme.com/delta
     
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