Whether you’re retired or you’ve just caught the travel bug, flying to new destinations can be a great pastime. But the wait in the TSA line is often an inconvenience for older travelers, especially those with mobility issues or medical devices.
Luckily, there are options to avoid the wait in line or avoid going through the regular security process. TSA Precheck, Global Entry, and Clear offer some benefits for older travelers. Here’s a breakdown of each of them and why they may be right for you.
Although TSA makes some allowances for passengers 75 and older, such as not requiring the removal of shoes or a light jacket, the other aspects of using the regular TSA line can still be time-consuming. The Precheck line saves time by not requiring travelers to remove their shoes, belt, jacket, toiletry bag or laptop. There are currently 83 airlines at over 200 U.S. airports that participate in the program. Precheck is good for domestic flights only. So, this is a great option if you don’t do a lot of international travel.
Military, first responders, members of SENTRI, members of NEXUS, children 12 and under and government employees from select agencies get free TSA Precheck. If you don’t fall into one of those categories, there are still ways to get it free. Travelers can use credit card benefits, such as points or miles, to cover the fee or to get it reimbursed. Check out Nerd Wallet to see credit cards with these perks. For everyone else, Precheck is $85 for the first five years, then $70 to renew online.
You can check out tsa.gov/precheck to see your options.
Global Entry is available for U.S. citizens and residents of select countries entering the U.S. after traveling internationally. It provides additional convenience for international travelers to bypass processing lines, and paperwork and enjoy reduced wait times. The fee is $100 for five years and it includes TSA Precheck. So, if you plan to travel internationally at all over the next five years, it might be worth the extra $15. Several credit cards will waive these fees as well.
Go to cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/global-entry for information on the program and how to sign up.
Clear Plus is available at over 40 U.S. airports and costs $189 annually. Clear uses a biometric scan of your eyes or fingerprints. Report to one of the Clear kiosks and once scanned, a representative will escort you directly to the front of a security checkpoint line.
Clear also offers benefits outside the airport. There’s a health pass that offers a way to easily complete health screenings. Members can also easily make and show a digital vaccine card. Access to Clear Sports is also included in the membership, giving members quicker ability to enter sports and entertainment venues through the Clear lanes. So, for those who spend a lot of their free time at concerts or ballgames, this could be a convenient way to avoid those lines.
Visit clearme.com to see the benefits and where it is available.
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