How to Beat Longer Lines at the Airport

Global Entry speeds you through security wherever you go.

(Image credit: Izabela Habur)

Your laptop is safe from the cargo hold, now that airline passengers no longer need to check their electronics if they’re en route to the U.S. But new security measures may mean longer wait times as your devices—including tablets and e-readers—are swabbed or inspected on their way through security, whether you’re flying into or out of the country.

One solution: Travelers enrolled in TSA PreCheck ($85 for five years) can leave electronics in their carry-on luggage as they pass through security, as well as skip other inconveniences such as removing jackets and shoes. But Global Entry ($100 for five years) is a better deal. You get PreCheck benefits as well as a speedier trip through customs upon returning to the States. Airports in San Francisco, Houston and Austin, Texas, now allow applicants to complete their personal interview while clearing customs. More airports should follow suit in the coming months.

The TSA is also testing new scanners that more clearly identify packed items. As the technology improves, security lines should speed up as fewer bags need to be pulled aside for manual searches, says Trenton Higareda, of security consulting firm CTI Consulting.

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Miriam Cross
Associate Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Miriam lived in Toronto, Canada, before joining Kiplinger's Personal Finance in November 2012. Prior to that, she freelanced as a fact-checker for several Canadian publications, including Reader's Digest Canada, Style at Home and Air Canada's enRoute. She received a BA from the University of Toronto with a major in English literature and completed a certificate in Magazine and Web Publishing at Ryerson University.