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Can I Use TSA Precheck for International Flights?

TSA Precheck

Q: Can I use precheck for international flights? 

A: Good news: the TSA’s expedited security program has expanded to include international flights departing from the U.S. on eight of the agency’s partner airlines. You can also use TSA PreCheck lanes if you’re connecting to a domestic flight after arriving in the States. Bear in mind, if you booked a ticket through a TSA partner airline but your flight is actually operated by a foreign alliance carrier, you are not eligible for PreCheck. The operating carrier must submit the names of its PreCheck-eligible passengers to the TSA prior to the flight, and at this point the agency does not have any international partners.

By The Numbers

30: The average number of firearms confiscated each week in 2012 via TSA carry-on searches; most were claimed to have been packed unwittingly.

Amy FarleyHave a travel dilemma? Need some tips and remedies? Send your questions to news editor Amy Farley at tripdoctor@timeinc.com. Follow @tltripdoctor on Twitter.


Photo by ZUMA Press, Inc./Alamy

Travel Warning Issued to Airlines for Possible Shoe Bomb Threats

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According to an NBC News report, the Department of Homeland Security has issued a warning to airlines about a possible new threat of shoe bombs—specifically on U.S.-bound overseas flights. The warning mentioned nonstop flights from Johannesburg, Paris, London, and Cairo. Though it did not come with any directives to the airlines, passengers should expect heightened security, including additional pat-downs and full-body screenings.

Homeland Security released the following statement—the same one they used after the temporary ban earlier this month on carry-on gels, liquids, powders, and aerosols on flights from the U.S. to Russia.

 “Out of an abundance of caution, DHS regularly shares relevant information with domestic and international partners about relevant threat information as we work to meet our mission of keeping the traveling public safe. These types of regular communications are part of that important priority. Our security apparatus includes a number of measures, both seen and unseen, informed by the latest intelligence and as always DHS continue to adjust security measures to fit an ever evolving threat environment.”

Brooke Porter
Brooke Porter Katz is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1

Photo credit: Juice Images/ Alamy

EU Relaxes Liquid Ban While Russia Clamps Down

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On the heels of a long-awaited decision to loosen liquid restrictions, which went into effect only one week ago, new constrictions are already in place.

Today, the Department of Homeland Security directed that no liquids, gels, aerosols, or powders of any kind be permitted on nonstop flights between the United States and the Russian Federation. Delta is the only domestic carrier to which this applies, although international lines such as Russia’s Aeroflot and TransAero are also affected.

Early last month, Russia banned all liquids from carry-on luggage on all flights entering its two international Moscow airports. The stringent restriction is just a small part of the security operation surrounding the 2014 Winter Games, and was announced just weeks before the EU and the US loosened their liquid policies.

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Montreal's Airport Introduces New Security Checkpoint Reservation System

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Last month, the TSA debuted its first Precheck enrollment center at the Indianapolis Airport—with 300 more to open by spring—making an expedited security process more accessible than ever. Meanwhile, Canada’s Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International airport is testing another strategy to alleviate waits: a free, timed reservation system called SecurXpress. Here’s how it works: Enter your flight number and phone number on the airport website. Then, you’ll receive a text message, which acts as a ticket, with a reserved time for a specific SecurXpress checkpoint. Think of it like Disney’s FastPass. One text message is good for up to five people traveling together, and it’s up to you to get there on time. Unfortunately, the system only works on domestic and some international flights within Canada—but if it’s successful, maybe we’ll see it cross the border one day soon.

Brooke Porter
Brooke Porter is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.

Photo Courtesy of Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport

Global Entry: How to Make the Most of It

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If you fly three or four times a year and don’t have Global Entry, you’re crazy.

I know that’s a bold statement—and I have no way of actually judging your mental capacities—but give me a moment to explain why it’s an essential tool for any traveler, even those staying within the country.

Global Entry is a Customs and Border Protection program that, after a background check, allows travelers to skip lines at immigration and customs, using a kiosk to quickly reenter the country. The online application process takes a bit of time, and a subsequent in-person interview is required.

Once complete, though, you’ll not only laugh at long immigration lines but also race through airport security. That’s because the TSA considers Global Entry members “trusted travelers” and automatically includes them in the affiliated PreCheck program. And entry into that program is priceless.

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TSA's Precheck Program Opens to the Public

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The Transportation Security Administration (a.k.a. TSA) is opening its first Precheck enrollment center, at the Indianapolis International Airport today. Until now, PreCheck has been available only to loyalty-program members of the TSA's partner airlines and people enrolled in one of U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Trusted Traveler programs, such as Global Entry. Today marks the first time any traveler, regardless of frequent-flier status, can sign up to get expedited security privileges. All you need is $85 (which covers five years), proof of citizenship (though not necessarily a passport), and a little extra time at the airport. The TSA plans to roll out an additional 300 such centers by spring 2014—with the next ones coming to New York City, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles.

Amy FarleyHave a travel dilemma? Need some tips and remedies? Send your questions to news editor Amy Farley at tripdoctor@timeinc.com. Follow @tltripdoctor on Twitter.

Photo credit: iStockphoto

TSA Has Over $500,000 in Forgotten Pocket Change from 2012

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In fiscal 2012, travelers left $531,000 in pennies, nickels, and dimes at airport security checkpoints, according the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Nearly 95% of the loose change collected came from domestic flights, with $22,000 coming from LAX alone. Altogether, the TSA has amassed over $2 million in the last five years.

What is the TSA planning on doing with all the money?

Currently it sits mostly untouched in an “aviation security fund,” but Florida representative Jeff Miller last week issued a committee report recommending the unused coins go toward upgraded travel amenities for members of the U.S. military and their families while traveling.

Congress is set to vote later this week on Miller's bill.

Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure, and a member of the Trip Doctor News Team. You can follow him on Twitter at @pschles08.

Photo credit: iStockphoto

TSA Welcomes Southwest Airlines and Members of Military to PreCheck

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Keep your belt on!  

Southwest Airline’s frequent-flyer members need no longer undress to pass airport security. Today, the carrier became the eighth domestic airline to offer TSA PreCheck, a program to pre-approve travelers for expedited security screenings.  

The president of the US Travel Association, Roger Dow, calls the initiative “decidedly pro-traveler.” It’s meant to make travel easy, so that people fly—and fly often.

By the end of December, Pre-Check will be available to all members of the military at every airport in the country offering the service. At this time, military personnel can enjoy the perk at 10 domestic airports. 

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Delta Pays for Automated Passport Machines at JFK

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Delta Air Lines, fed up with long lines its passengers face when arriving at Customs in New York City's JFK airport, is footing the bill to install automated passport machines.

Lines at the airport are the worst in the country, averaging over 90 minutes during peak hours, and nearing five hours on some occasions. Automated machines can shed 40 percent off of waiting times to clear customs, and at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport—the only U.S. airport to already have such machines—interview times with Customs officers have been halved to 30 seconds.

Delta views the new automated machines as a step in the right direction, says spokesperson Leslie Scott. She hopes the airline's contribution—whose price is undisclosed—will spur increased staffing, especially at peak times for international arrivals.

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Two New Ways to Speed Through the Airport

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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.

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