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Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check, Your Choice

You may have read my previous blog, where I reported that TSA recently eliminated free TSA Pre-Check that frequent fliers were receiving. We REALLY loved TSA pre-check, so we knew it was time to officially apply for that. The following airlines offer TSA Pre-Check, and here’s how you apply at a location near you:

  • Air Canada
  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines/US Airways
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • JetBlue Airways
  • OneJet
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Sun Country
  • United Airlines
  • Virgin America
  • West Jet

Since we’re booked with friends on the Globus Greek Island Hopper Tour in 2016 (you should come with us), it just made sense to apply for 20151012_132453Global Entry, which offers expedited customs clearance upon reentering the country, as well as TSA Pre-Check. Friends of ours who traveled with us to Costa Rica already had their Global Entry cards then. We were off the plane in line for customs well ahead of them, but they cleared customs, were seated at an airport bar saving seats for us, with their first drinks in hand by the time we caught up with them.

About a month ago, we applied for Global Entry online at this website. We had to list past addresses, employment, and more, and then pay the $100 fee, which is non-refundable. After about one week, we were notified that our application had been conditionally approved and to schedule an interview at a Global Entry Enrollment Center. We knew Little Rock did not have one, so we would have to travel to a center, and the closest ones to us are in Memphis and Dallas. Fortunately, we were traveling to Washington, DC, for the American Express Learning Forum and Travel Conference and a visit with our daughter who lives there now, which included lots of sightseeing. So, we scheduled an appointment in the Ronald Reagan Building, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, just a few blocks from the White House.

We walked in early for our appointment, but they immediately called us in. After answering a few basic questions and an explanation of how Global Entry works, we walked out with our Known Traveler number, and my Global Entry card arrived at our home just a couple days later. I entered the Known Traveler number in our Southwest Airline flight home from Washington, DC, and sure enough, we had TSA Pre-Check on that return flight.

So, if you just fly domestically, TSA Pre-Check may be enough for you. If you travel or hope to travel internationally, might as well apply for Global Entry now.


No More Free Passes to TSA Pre-Check

WIN_20150917_10_51_08_ProJust like many of you, we’ve been enjoying TSA Pre-Check on our domestic flights the past few years. No need to remove your laptop from your carry-on, and I can walk through the security line with your shoes and jackets on. TSA quietly ended the free passes this week, and now the only folks with TSA Pre-Check are those who have applied, paid the application fee, and completed the in-person interview.

If you’re ready to apply, there’s two different programs to consider. If you only travel domestically, TSA Pre-Check is exactly what you need. If you travel or hope to travel internationally, you need to apply for Global Entry, which also includes TSA Pre-Check.

Here’s the link to apply for TSA-Pre-Check, and here’s the link to apply for Global Entry. Complete your application and pay your fee. After you’ve passed that check, you’ll be invited to set an appointment for your in-person interview. Many of you may have to travel to another city for your interview, like we did. You can plan your interview for a day and time you’ll be visiting that city anyway, if you like.

Both these clearances last for five years, so I’d suggest you get your clearance today if you love to travel as much as I do. And, remember, I should be your first call for all your vacation travels if you value your time.