Two New Ways to Speed Through the Airport
Waiting in line—perhaps the most dreaded aspect—of the air travel experience—is improving by leaps and bounds this year at U.S. airports. For one, the TSA PreCheck expedited screening program, which is now available for international flights, is growing rapidly: the TSA has installed PreCheck lanes in 40 airports, with planned expansions into 60 more domestic airports by the end of 2013. Meanwhile, in-airport PreCheck enrollment centers will also soon start rolling out—opening up the program to all U.S. travelers willing to pay the $85 fee—no passport or frequent-flier membership required. The first will be in Indianapolis and Washington Dulles this fall, followed by some 300 locations across the country.
Another significant time-saver: U.S. Customs and Border Protection, in addition to its popular Global Entry program that expedites members through Immigration, now has kiosk-based automated passport-control lanes in several North American airports (Chicago O'Hare, Montreal, Vancouver, and soon Dallas), helping to keep those lines moving quickly. (Wait times in Chicago have already decreased by a full 33 percent.) After scanning your passport and answering a few questions at the touch-screen machine, you check in quickly with an agent and are on your way. Keep your eyes peeled for these kiosks in additional airports in the coming months.