Travel like a Rock Star

It is the height of vacation travel in the US as was self-evident when I recently flew to Hawaii and traveling through 6 airports throughout my 3 week visit.  There are some key ways to significantly lower travel stress by applying for the four major TSA programs.  This link will allow you to analyze your own needs, whether or not it includes international travel and whether you currently have a passport.

I have applied for two of the programs.  The first was paid by my American Express Platinum membership, Global Entry.  It took a couple of hours to pull everything together for my application, make an online application and wait.  When I was notified of my acceptance, the second step was to make an appointment for finger printing (My appointment was at the Customs office at the Orlando International Airport) and to secure a special ID Sticker on my passport.  I then had a lesson on how to scan my passport on a machine as I come through customs, and this also allows me to go to the head of the line, (yes, I feel a bit guilty, but also a little bit like a rock star).

I have been a long-time member of Clear, which is a private program with a small annual fee.  For about $15 / month, I can go to the head of the line, many times skipping hundreds of passengers and eliminating up to an hour wait.  My husband can join with me at only $50/year and children under 18 are FREE.  I show my Clear card and boarding pass, scan my irises, and I’m escorted to the front of the Security line where I put my possessions on the screening belt.  In Orlando, that’s a BIG Deal!  Since I’m escorted by a Clear employee, everyone is looking at me and thinking “how did she do that?”  I’m fortunate my Gateway is Orlando, as it is available.  More and more airports now offer ClearMe to their passengers including Las Vegas, San Jose, Houston, San Antonio, Atlanta, Denver and this fall in New York.  I LOVE ClearMe.  The process was similar to the TSA clearance, where I applied online, finger printing at the Orlando airport, and Iris Scanning for my records.

The TSA clearance is very comparable and inexpensive at only $85.  When we were in Honolulu, there were long wait lines for traditional travelers, and the TSA line was empty. (There was no Clear access in this airport.) This was fantastic at 8:30 PM, after a long day and avoiding lines with unhappy children.  It is a great travel move to apply before everyone catches onto this travel perk.

For a demo on how ClearMe works, please view the link below:

For some reason my last few boarding passes have been stamped with TSA approved access, although I haven’t applied. After doing some research, I have found that since I have the Global Access pass I need not apply for TSA, it appears it must be automatic.  In any event, it is worth the time and effort to be recognized in these special programs.  Wishing you a stress-free travel experience and who doesn’t want to go to the Head of the Line?

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