Which Airlines Accept TSA PreCheck?

October 17, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

TSA PreCheck has been available since October 2011 and saved countless travelers countless hours of standing in security lines at the airport. If you’re a frequent flier who has gone through the screening process and paid the $85 fee (good for five years) to obtain your known traveler number, you might be surprised to learn that there are still airlines that do not accept it.

With 37 domestic and international airlines and 200 US airports currently participating in the program, the odds of not being able to use PreCheck only increase if you are flying domestically from a smaller airport or you’re flying internationally on one of the following airlines.

TSA PreCheck sign showing the way to an empty pathway, next to a line packed with people.If you’e a PreCheck member, you won’t be able to use the following airlines: Aer Lingus, Air France, British Airways, China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, EasyJet, EgyptAir, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Nippon Airways, Norwegian Airlines, Qatar Airways, and Ryanair.
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Packing Food for Air Travel

August 29, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Are you trying to stay on track with that new diet you’re on, but you have a business trip, and the thought of running the food court gauntlet without getting tripped up by some tempting food has you considering quitting? Do you have a dietary restriction that makes finding allergen-free food in the airport next to impossible?

Have you considered packing some snacks or meals to eat while you fly? You can take food through the TSA security checkpoints, you just have to know what food falls under its liquid restrictions — the 3-1-1 rule —and pack accordingly.

Although water bottles or other beverages must not exceed 3.4 ounces, don’t automatically assume you can’t bring items such as packets of nut butters or salad dressing. Just be sure the amount you’re bringing through security is less than 3.4 ounces/100ml. The liquid restrictions also apply to ice and gel packs as well, so be sure to time your arrival at the airport so those frozen food products are still frozen solid.
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American, United Launch Automated Screening at O’Hare

January 27, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Just in time for the recent busy holiday travel season, American and United both launched automated screening lanes in order to help lessen the bottleneck in the TSA checkpoints, a serious problem travelers faced in summer 2016.

The two airlines followed the lead of Delta, which partnered with TSA in May 2016 at Hartsfield Jackson International Airport. Delta underwrote $1 million dollars of the total TSA investment to bring the automation to the Atlanta airport.
United and American Airlines have installed automated screening at Chicago O'Hare Airport
The automated screening lanes feature the following innovations:

  • Stainless steel countertops that enable several passengers to place their items in bins simultaneously;
  • Automated conveyor belts that draw bins into the X-ray machines, and return them to the front of the queue;
  • Bags identified as a potential threat are automatically pushed to a separate area to allow bins behind it to continue through the screening process uninterrupted;
  • Property bins that are 25 percent larger than the bins in standard screening lanes in order to accommodate roller bags; Read more

How Airports Can Get Rid of the TSA

October 14, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Who hasn’t thought while standing in a slow-moving TSA security line, “Couldn’t somebody do this better than the federal government?” There actually is somebody, and there may be a way for your airport to replace the TSA with a private firm.

And after a very hectic travel summer, with reports of up-to-three-hour waits at some security lines, a lot of people started asking that question.

A relatively unknown program, actually operated by the TSA, called the Partnership Screening Program, allows the federal agency to receive bids from private security firms to replace the TSA’s services at the nation’s municipal airports. The private contractors provide screening under federal oversight, and must offer similar wages and benefits for their employees.

The TSA Security lines at Denver International Airport

In fact, the option to fire the TSA dates back to the inception of the agency in 2002 after the September 11 terrorist attacks. At that time, five airports were allowed to contract with private firms as a way for Congress to assess and compare its approach with one offered by the private sector: San Francisco; Kansas City, MO; Rochester, NY; Tupelo, MS; and Jackson, WY.

Kansas City and San Francisco’s international airports were the only two major airports in that original five. But since then, 17 other regional airports around the country have fired the TSA and, with the exception of Kansas City, contracted with Trinity Technology Group, a Department of Homeland Security Safety Act certified company, for their security screening process. Kansas City works with Akal Security.
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Homeland Security Asks Airlines to Eliminate Baggage Fees

October 5, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Travel was pretty difficult for some this past summer, as the TSA struggled to clear long lines at the security checkpoints. Travelers faced waits as long as three hours, causing them to miss their flights. The ordeal was eventually sorted, and people were able to get to their destinations as usual.

But this problem could be avoided, said the TSA and a few Washington lawmakers, if the airlines would just get rid of their checked baggage fees.
The TSA Security lines at Denver International Airport
Jeh Johnson, the head of Homeland Security, and TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger asked the nation’s airlines to consider waiving or eliminating baggage fees in order to encourage more people to check bags and alleviate the security process clogged by travelers who only have carry-ons.

Not surprisingly, the airlines said no. They’ve had these fees in place since 2007, and it’s how they have been able to remain profitable. How can you do your part to keep the security line moving? Here are some simple, practical reminders to consider:

  • Apply for TSA PreCheck. Even if you only travel once a year, at $85 for five years’ certification, you’ll eliminate most of the hassle that comes with the regular TSA lines: you won’t have to take off your shoes or jacket, unpack your toiletries, or remove your laptop.
  • Make sure your toiletries are the standard 3.4 ounces and that the bag you carry them in is transparent and accessible, like a kitchen reclosable bag.
  • Wear slip-on shoes so you don’t hold up the line untying shoes or unzipping boots. If you can’t do this, loosen the laces or unzip the zipper so that you can ease your feet out quickly. Read more

Border Patrol Wants to Access Visitors’ Social Media

August 10, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Visitors entering the United States may be asked to provide US Customs and Border Protection with their social media account information. This would be a new question added to the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) and I-94W forms.

We’re not sure how we feel about that.

On the one hand, these forms already supply information about citizenship, residency, passport, and contact information. With this, it’s easy enough to get social media information. Just go to your favorite social network, and search for the person’s name.

Patch_of_the_United_States_Border_PatrolAccording to the Office of the Federal Register, a publication that lists proposed and final administrative regulations, this data would be used for “screening alien visitors for potential security risks to national security and determining admissibility to the United States.”
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TSA Wants 25 million Travelers to choose Precheck and Global Entry

May 16, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

What’s the worst part of the travel experience? Take an informal poll and you’ll find “going through security” to be in the top three, if not number one. Since 9/11, Americans have developed strategies for removing their shoes, unloading their laptops, and shrinking their toiletries to three ounce travel sizes in order to streamline their security screening.

TSA Pre-Check signWhat if you could skip all that rigamarole and stroll through security without removing anything? You can, and The Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) wants to tell you how. While many frequent business travelers are familiar with Precheck, TSA is on a campaign to get more travelers to sign up.

The process is relatively simple: you fill out a form online and schedule a brief, in-person interview at the airport where you present the required documentation (a passport, driver’s license, or birth certificate) and are fingerprinted. The $85 fee provides Precheck security clearance for five years.
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Gatwick Airport Tests Hi-Tech Security and Passenger Technology

August 12, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Remember how impressed you were the first time you saw an airport faucet that turned on automatically when you waved your hand in front of them? (Don’t pretend you weren’t!)

It’s almost shocking how far airports have come technologically since then. Case in point: Gatwick Airport’s chief information officer, Michael Ibbitson, recently told FutureTravelExperience.com about the new technology that’s not just wowing passengers, but also streamlining the passenger experience and making travel safer for everyone. Let’s take a look at some of the technological advances Gatwick has made.

Speeding Up Bag Check

English: Gatwick South Terminal Zone K check-i...

Gatwick South Terminal Zone K check-in concourse (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Automated bag check and check-in are technologies well on their way to mass adoption at this point, but Gatwick is aiming to make them more efficient than ever.

EasyJet has been testing a bag drop system fueled by Phase 5 Technology at its Gatwick hub. According to Ibbitson, the average passenger took 76 seconds to process — the goal is to get passengers through in 45 — so they’re tweaking the system, working toward maximum efficiency.

Automated Security

One of the major headaches of air travel, no matter how far you’re traveling, is getting through security. Gatwick is attempting to make security checkpoints smoother by automating them — the systems installed in 2012 have cut wait time to an average of a mere 107 seconds — and installing Security Max lanes that will enable even more passengers to prepare for the checkpoint at once.

Iris Scanning Technology

The wildest technology we read about: Biometrics as a single passenger token. The gist is that when you check in at the airport and drop your bag off, a machine also scans your iris — an identity marker that’s almost impossible to forfeit — and all your passenger information, from baggage tracking to your passport and boarding pass, is encoded into the scan.

A single scan of your iris is all it takes to move you through the rest of the travel process throughout the airport — and even at your destination.

According to the Future Travel Experience post, this technology is well within reach — it’s the widespread implementation of the technology at airports worldwide that will take some time.

What technology would you most like to see implemented in your favorite airport? The sky’s the limit, so they say — leave a comment with your loftiest technology dreams.

Cut the Airport Security Lines

August 8, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Ever wish you could cut through those pesky airport security lines… without angering the TSA or your fellow travelers? You may be surprised to learn that there’s a legal (and polite!) way to do it, one that savvy travelers have known about for years. And we’re going to let you in on the secret.

While standing in the airport security line, you’ve likely noticed travelers entering special lines marked “Pre-Check” and zipping right through airport security and simply assumed those lucky travelers were TSA, airline, or government employees. They’re actually people who have pre-qualified for rapid screening, and can pass through the security line without waiting. In reality, many travelers qualify for the TSA’s Pre-Check program and don’t even realize it.

What is Pre-Check?

English: TSA Passenger Screening

English: TSA Passenger Screening (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pre-Check is an expedited screening program created and managed by the TSA, in cooperation with US Customs and Border Protection and a select group of major airlines. Participants in the Pre-Check program are allowed to use dedicated Pre-Check lanes at participating airports. In most cases, program participants are allowed to pass through security without removing their shoes, outerwear or belt, and typically do not need to remove electronics or liquid items from their carry-on bag.

How can I participate?

The Pre-Check program is currently available to passengers traveling on Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways and Virgin America from participating airports. Currently, the program is eligible to frequent travelers who receive an invitation to opt-in from one of the participating airlines.

Travelers can also participate in the Pre-Check program by registering for a US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Global Online Enrollment System (GOES) account and enrolling in one of the CBP eligible programs via the Global Entry program. Once you’ve filled out the online application, you’ll need to pay a $100 fee and schedule an appointment at one of the program enrollment centers across the United States. During your appointment, you’ll be fingerprinted, have your passport verified, and be interviewed.

Don’t want to enroll?

If you’re looking for a way to bypass the long security line without enrolling in the Pre-Check program, fear not – you still have another option. For an additional fee (typically between $20 – $40) some airlines offer a VIP security lane that allows passengers to speed through a dedicated security line and board the plane before other passengers.

If you travel more than a few times a year, you may find it’s worth the time and effort to participate in the Pre-Check program. The time you save could end up being several hours worth per year, depending on where and when you typically fly.

The TSA Is Now Monitoring Passenger Behavior

July 5, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

In this age of global terrorism, most air travelers recognize and accept the need for enhanced security measures.

Let’s hope so. For, in addition to the many indignities you endure at airline security checkpoints, your behavior is now being “monitored.”

Massive Security Line At Orlando Airport

Massive Security Line At Orlando Airport (Photo credit: Joe Shlabotnik)

As reported on 4/27/11 by Kate Auletta of AOL Travel News, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has deployed “Behavioral Indicator Officers” in 161 U.S. airports to monitor passenger’s antics while in security lines. The particular behaviors they are trained to spot include a cocky attitude, verbal expressions of displeasure at long lines, and fearful or impatient looks.

Auletta indicated that ” … the immigration agent who stopped the so-called 20th 9/11 hijacker recalled that his behavior was ‘arrogant.’ The TSA modeled this program off that argument and other conversations with would-be hijackers.”

On their website, the TSA describes the Behavior Detection Officer’s duties as “screening travelers for involuntary physical and physiological reactions that people exhibit in response to a fear of being discovered. TSA recognizes that an individual exhibiting some of these behaviors does not automatically mean a person has terrorist or criminal intent. Individuals exhibiting specific observable behaviors may be referred for additional screening at the checkpoint to include a hand-wanding, limited pat down, and physical inspection of one’s carry-on baggage.”

Predictably, many civil liberties advocates strongly oppose this practice, and question its effectiveness. Michael German of the ACLU called it “anti-American.” And national security analyst Peter Bergen told CNN that “it doesn’t make any sense to me.”

However, while the politicians and security experts continue to hammer this out, it also means that everyday travelers will have to put a check on their impatience and their annoyance at waiting in longer lines. While it might make you feel better to voice your frustration, just remember that it may be misinterpreted, and give you some unwanted extra attention.

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