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Business Travel: TSA Precheck, Global Entry, and CLEAR


For a business traveler, the line at airport security can add anxiety to what may already be a stressful trip. And upon returning home from a trip overseas, the last thing a weary traveler wants is to face another long line to get through customs. 

Luckily, there are a few ways to help shorten those lines. If you’re a business traveler with a job that requires you to be a frequent flier, here’s a look at what the Transportation Security Administration’s Precheck and Global Entry programs offer, as well as CLEAR—a privately operated trusted traveler program. 

Federal officials say that more than 4 million people are already taking advantage of TSA Precheck, which is designed for domestic air travel. It allows low-risk passengers to move through an expedited security screening to board their flight. In July, 96 percent of TSA Precheck passengers waited in line less than five minutes. Fliers who qualify don’t have to remove shoes, belts, light jackets, laptops, or their quart bag of liquids from their carry-on. TSA Precheck is currently available at 200 airports nationwide, including most major cities, with 37 participating airlines. 

Travelers can submit an online application that takes about five minutes to complete and schedule an appointment at any of more than 380 enrollment centers nationwide, many of which are located at airports. The in-person appointment takes about 10 minutes and includes a background check and fingerprinting. Check the tsa.gov website for instructions on which documents you’ll need to bring with you. Once your application is approved, you’ll receive a known traveler number. The 5-year membership fee is $85. 

Business travelers whose work takes them abroad should consider signing up for Global Entry. Also a federal program, it offers fliers all the benefits of TSA Precheck plus expedited customs screening for travelers re-entering the United States. There are no paper forms, such as a customs declaration, to fill out when you arrive home. Travelers with Global Entry can use a kiosk to quickly clear immigration and customs and be on their way. The membership fee is $100 for five years, and includes membership into the TSA Precheck program. 

Note, some credit card companies and loyalty programs offer their customers rebates on the TSA membership fee, so that’s one money-saving option worth checking out.

Of course, before travelers in TSA Pre can even reach their lane for expedited security screening, they have to wait in line to get their identification and boarding pass checked.

A private company called CLEAR is trying to reduce that bottleneck. CLEAR uses biometrics—a fingerprint or scan of the eye—to verify a flyer’s identification. At participating airports, passengers go to the CLEAR kiosk where they tap their finger on a pad or blink to verify their identification, and then scan their boarding pass. A Clear representative then escorts them to the TSA Precheck lane. The program is available at two-dozen airports nationwide. There’s an annual membership fee of $179.

All options can save you time, which saves your company time and money. 

For help planning a business trip across the country or around the world, contact Travel Leaders COS at 800-273-0793, locally 719-597-0004, or send us an email at info@TravelLeadersCOS.com.

© Travel Leaders Group