Speed up your time at the airport and clear airport security faster with these smartphone apps and programs.
From security screenings to passport checks and border control, lengthy airport lines are a traveler’s worst nightmare.
To help take the stress out of traveling outside the terminal, Blacklane chauffeurs offer 60-minute complimentary wait time. Chauffeurs also track flights to adjust pickup times for airport pickups. When you download the Blacklane app, you can pre-schedule your airport transfers and make changes as frequently as you like.
Inside the airport, these smartphone apps and government-run programs could help you clear airport security faster to make your travel experience a breeze.
TSA PreCheck lets U.S. citizens and permanent residents departing from a national airport access a separate and usually much shorter line at airport security.
With PreCheck, travelers get a simplified screening – you won’t have to remove shoes, belts, or light jackets or laptops and liquids from your bag.
According to TSA PreCheck, 94 percent of the program’s passengers waited less than five minutes in November 2021.
It’s run by the Transportation Security Administration and is available in more than 200 airports nationwide.
To be approved for PreCheck, you need to submit an online application and then schedule a 10 minute in-person appointment where a TSA official will do a background check and fingerprinting. The application fee is $85 for five years.
Most of the time, the application is approved within a few days after which you’ll receive a Known Traveler Number. This number can be added to your airline reservation and will show up on your boarding pass.
A good thing to note: If you’re not flying with a TSA PreCheck carrier, you’ll have to go through regular airport security.
This privately-run company uses biometrics to create a touchless ID system across more than 50 U.S. airports and sports stadiums.
To start using Clear, you need to enroll either online or via their app and then complete the application at any of the airport locations where Clear is present.
Once enrolled, Clear transforms your biometrics into a form of encrypted code. This code is then matched to your eyes and face when you check in at a Clear location.
Clear only expedites the ID check lane at the airport, so would work well in conjunction with a program that also lets you speed through the security line also.
Global Entry allows expedited clearance for U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and citizens of select countries arriving into the U.S.
Run by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency, pre-approved members can skip the long lines at passport control by simply answering a few questions and scanning their fingerprints at a computer kiosk. A CBP officer then does an identity check and that’s it.
Enrolled U.S. citizens can also use Global Entry for expedited entry into a select number of other countries.
To apply, you need to create a Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP) account and then login to complete an application. The application costs $100 and is non-refundable.
If the application is approved, you need to schedule an interview at a Global Enrollment Center to get your ID checked. Alternatively, you can complete the interview upon arrival into the U.S. with a CBP officer.
EasyPASS – Germany
EasyPASS runs in conjunction with the Federal Police to help with border control lines across six German airports.
EU nationals with an electronic passport can clear airport security faster by getting their identity and travel document verified at one of the 214 eGates available.
American citizens with an ePassport can also get access to an eGate by registering with EasyPASS-RTP.
You’ll just have to visit an enrollment center at one of the German airports, sign a form, complete a Federal Police questionnaire and have your documents checked.
If successful, you’ll be able to use EasyPASS-RTP instantly.
Registered Traveller – UK
If you travel to the UK regularly and have an eligible passport, applying as a Registered Traveller could be worthwhile.
A Registered Traveller can access the UK passport entry lanes and ePassport gates (provided you have an electronic passport) to speed up entry through the UK border.
If you have an eligible passport and either a UK visa or entry clearance or have visited the UK at least four times in the past year, then you can apply online.
A decision on your application takes about 10 working days. If accepted, you’ll need to go through the ‘other passports’ lane on your next visit to the UK, where an Immigation officer will check your criteria and tell you if you can become a member.
The membership costs £70 and lasts 12 months from the start of the application.