Your Guide to Faster, Easier Airport Security Lines

16 March 17

Antalya, Turkey – September 10, 2016: Security and passport control at Antalya International Airport, Turkey.

I arrived at 4 p.m. on a Friday to the Denver International Airport. My flight home to Georgia was not for a few hours, but there was still an obstacle to overcome before I could wait comfortably by my gate…airport security. Filing into the back of a meandering line with hundreds of people in front of me, I felt at ease knowing that I had some time. When I neared the x-ray conveyor belt, my mind began to race.

“The IPad goes in a tray, right? And my jacket? What about my toothpaste?”

I mentally scanned through the two bags I was holding, sorting each item as “tray” or “stay.” Then a TSA representative walked toward the trash can, holding a small bottle of shampoo for all to see.

“This is just a reminder that all liquids must be less than 3.7 ounces. If it isn’t, it will be thrown out!” she warned.

Security lines can be stressful when you aren’t entirely sure what needs to come out and what can stay in your bag. There’s also the possibility of missing a flight if you don’t arrive at the airport early enough. I’m here to tell you, there is a better way. In the midst of my inner turmoil in an airport security line in Denver, I looked up and saw a lane with no line at all. Later I discovered it was the TSA Pre-check lane. In February 2017, 97% of TSA Pre-check passengers waited less than 5 minutes in security, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. In addition to saving time, the Pre-check program does not require you to remove belts, jackets, shoes, toiletries, or laptops from your bags. To enroll, you must be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident and the cost is $85. Membership is good for five years before needing to be renewed.

TSA Pre-Check Application Process:

  • Fill out the application.
  • Schedule an appointment at one of the 380 U.S. enrollment centers where a TSA representative will conduct a background check and take your fingerprint.
  • TSA will respond within 2 to 3 weeks, but they sometimes get back to you in a few days, so check your online account.
  • Once approved, tell us your Known Traveler Number (KTN) and your Pre-check status will be visible on your boarding pass, each time you fly with a participating airline.

If you travel abroad at least once a year, the TSA recommends that you apply for the Global Entry program instead of Pre-check, since you will need to deal with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) upon returning home. The Global Entry program expedites the screening process required by the CBP. An approved Global Entry member has no paperwork, gains quick entry in other countries, and enjoys the benefits of TSA’s Pre-check program.  To apply, you need to be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident of the United States and pay a $100 fee.  Citizens of Colombia, the United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands, Panama, Singapore, South Korea, and Mexican nationals can apply for the program. Membership needs to be renewed every 5 years.

Global Entry Application Process:

  • Create an account through CBP’s Global Online Enrollment System.
  • Complete the application and pay the non-refundable $100 fee.
  • A background check and in-person interview will follow. To the interview, bring your passport and one other form of identification. If you are a lawful permanent resident, bring your machine-readable declaration of permanent resident card.
  • Once approved, share your KTN with us to activate your Global Entry status.

Have question about how Corporate Connections can help you navigate TSA Pre-check and other business travel? Request a consultation today.