Nobody enjoys going through airport security.
If you’re a business owner who travels a lot, you’re wasting precious time standing in line when you could be working.
Thankfully, in the U.S. there are a few programs you can use to drastically reduce the amount of time you spend waiting in security lines. That means you can already be at the gate while all the other people are scrambling through long lines because someone in front of them doesn’t understand they can’t pack a water bottle in their carry on.
As part of our occasional series providing tips for small business owners, here are three programs you can sign up for to reduce your time in airport security lines and reduce travel-related headaches.
$85 for five years
TSA Pre is the most popular program you can join, and it’s well worth the nominal price.
With TSA Pre, you get to skip the main line and enter a special line that is usually shorter. Once it’s your turn for screening, you don’t have to take off your shoes, remove your laptop from your bag, take out your liquids, or remove light jackets.
According to the Transportation Security Administration, 92% of TSA Pre passengers waited less than 5 minutes in line during April 2018.
Enrolling is fairly simple. You complete an online application and then attend an in-person screening. During the screening, you will answer background check information and have your fingerprints taken.
Once enrolled, you can use the TSA Pre lines at more than 200 airports in the United States.
Over six million people are enrolled in TSA Pre, and for good reason. At just $85 for five years, it’s a great bargain considering the time you’ll save.
$179 for one year
With more than six million TSA Pre-approved members, TSA Pre lines can sometimes be long during peak travel periods. Frequent travelers might want to upgrade to CLEAR.
At $179 per year, it’s quite a bit more expensive than TSA Pre. For the added price your ID process is much easier and you get to skip to the front of the screening line. When used in conjunction with TSA Pre, you basically tap a finger or scan your eye and are then escorted to the front of the TSA Pre line.
Children under 18 can accompany you in the CLEAR lane without enrolling, and family members can be added for $50 per year.
Enrollment requires an in-person meeting but no appointment is necessary.
The service is in two dozen airports. It makes the most sense if it’s in your hometown airport and you travel a lot.
You arrive home from a long international trip, only to wait in line for up to an hour to clear Customs. Ouch!
Global Entry to the rescue…
With Global Entry, you can skip the lines and walk up to a kiosk. Insert your passport, answer a few Customs questions, scan your fingerprints and you’re nearly done.
While Global Entry is a U.S. program, citizens of some other countries can also enroll.
Enrollment begins online but includes an in-person interview. If you sign up for Global Entry and TSA Pre at the same time you can do one combined interview.
Get Moving Faster
These three programs make air travel much more enjoyable. Well, at least less painful!
Some credit cards will cover your TSA Pre and Global Entry fees, so check your credit cards (especially travel cards with an annual fee) to see if you qualify.
Use the time you save to update your website, find a new domain or answer important emails.