TSA Pre-check, Global Entry and Clear…Do you need them?

TSA Pre-check, Global Entry and Clear…Do you need them?

When you are headed to the airport for a flight, the biggest thing that will stop you from getting to your gate are security checks. Sometimes these can take more than an hour. Because of this, airport security add-on’s are very popular. Do you need them? How do they work? Well, I am one of those people who has tried the three add-ons available (TSA Pre-Check, Global Entry, and Clear) and I wanted to share my experience with you.

  1. Every single one will require a background check. You will need to fill out an application and have an in person interview and give fingerprints to ensure you do not have a background that would hinder your approval to bypass the traditional security point. Just a note on the initial process for Clear: After the online application process (you may also sign up at the airport) You must have your fingerprints and eyes scanned before you can utilize the service. This process is usually less than 10 minutes long. You could wait weeks for a TSA/Global entry interview.
  2. Once you are approved you are assigned a KTN – Known Traveler Number. This allows you to be identified as Pre-check approved. This is indicated by a check on your boarding pass or ticket.TSA Pre-Check Boarding Pass
  3. Global Entry gives you everything that TSA Pre-Check does for a combined price. Even if you don’t fly out of the country but you take cruises, this could be the add-on for you.
  4. Clear is a privately owned company that works with TSA in the airport and at some sports arenas and this shortens your wait for security scanning.
  5. None of these add-ons can guarantee you will not be searched or make you exempt from travel rules but they do give you perks…

The main perk is being able to move through the security process quicker. I live in Atlanta, home of one of the countries busiest airports in the US and the Pre-Check line has me thru security in about 15-20 minutes. There is a separate entrance for Pre-Check travelers and shorter scanner lines. Clear also works best for those that have TSA Pre-check (it is not mandatory for the service). After your retina and fingerprint scan at their kiosk you are escorted by a Clear employee to the nearest Pre-Check agent. TSA will scan your boarding pass and you will go to the luggage scanners. If Pre-Check is not busy I am less likely to use Clear. If it is busy it is well worth it. You can get a free 2-month trial using this link.

I would not suggest that you pay for TSA Pre-Check by itself. Global Entry gives you the same benefits as Pre-check, plus a few extras for $15 more. You will be able to go thru customs faster AND when you drive thru a check point at a border or come back from a cruise you can use the ID you were given at enrollment (similar to a drivers license) that will allow you to zip through those checks as well.

TSA Pre-Check is $85 for 5 years

Global entry is $100 for 5 years and gives you all the perks of Pre-Check.

Clear is $179 annually – Update! If you are a Delta Skymiles member or Skymiles credit card holder you can get this at a discounted rate!  Medallion members can get it as low as $79 dollars. General members $99 per year. Use this link to get the info!

Clear is available at most major airports but not all at this time. It only works domestically (in the US) at this time.

If you are an avid traveler (more consistent travel per month), I would say Clear is a must especially if you run late for most things like I do. If you are a vacation traveler maybe 4 times a year I would choose Global Entry so you can zip thru the security lines.

I hope this summary of these add-ons are helpful. I look forward to reading your security or travel tips in the comments!

xo Danie

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22 Comments

  1. Jasmin N
    September 13, 2017 / 12:20 pm

    This surely is helpful! I always check myself in before I go to the airport (depending the company though) so I can quickly drop off my bags when I arrive to the airport 🙂

    • Danie
      September 13, 2017 / 11:12 pm

      That is definitely helpful. You know what I forgot to add to this post? Mobile Pass that is also helpful for Customs. I will add that to this post soon.

  2. September 13, 2017 / 1:58 pm

    Woww….this is a great news. It looks so much benefit for traveler with very good price. Great to know about it dear. Thanks for sharing.

    • Danie
      September 14, 2017 / 12:38 am

      Thanks so much for your comment I am glad you enjoyed the post 🙂

  3. September 14, 2017 / 1:33 am

    These are helpful tips on getting through security faster. I also try and check in online so I can drop off my luggage and hit the shops/bar!

    • Danie
      September 14, 2017 / 3:43 pm

      LOL a good drink always makes for a better flight. Thanks for commenting 🙂

  4. September 14, 2017 / 2:58 pm

    One of my family members signed up for Global Entry and she LOVES it. She travels outside of the US a ton, so this saves her so much time while at the airport. The application process takes awhile, but I believe it’s totally worth it if you travel a lot.

    Sondra xx
    prettyfitfoodie.com

    • Danie
      September 14, 2017 / 3:37 pm

      Totally agree with you! I love to be able to zip thru a line 🙂

  5. September 14, 2017 / 4:27 pm

    Good info. thanks for sharing. I do agree that if you are the type of person who constantly travels the $85 fee will eventually pay for itself.

    • Danie
      September 14, 2017 / 5:08 pm

      Yes and if your business is any way related to travel I believe you can write off the fee for it. Check with your accountant to confirm 🙂

  6. Stacy
    September 14, 2017 / 4:45 pm

    Great Post! Good explanation of the benefits. I learned something new and am interested to try this!

    • Danie
      September 14, 2017 / 5:08 pm

      Awesome thanks for reading 🙂

  7. September 15, 2017 / 12:59 pm

    I haven’t done a lot of air traveling lately but I used to do quite a bit. This does sound like such a great service to expedite you through your travel. Great ideas.

    • Danie
      September 18, 2017 / 10:12 pm

      Thanks so much David

  8. September 15, 2017 / 2:49 pm

    This is excellent information and comparison. I never really knew how it all worked. We travel a couple times a year domestically, but considering its out of a small airport, it’s not all that bad. If I lived in ATL, you better believe it’d be worth it! Lol. Thanks for sharing!

    • Danie
      September 18, 2017 / 10:12 pm

      Thanks so mch Kari. I really appreciate your comment.

  9. September 17, 2017 / 10:56 am

    I’ve never heard of this app before will have to give it a go!

  10. November 1, 2017 / 3:57 pm

    Oh my goodness! This is amazingly helpful, especially for those that have to travel often. I’m so worried (even though I have nothing to worry about) every time they update security precautions.

  11. November 1, 2017 / 4:09 pm

    Wow that’s a long duration for a security check 😱 In Australia it’s usually 15-20 minutes, and if it’s any longer it’s because it’s peak period. Such a helpful and informative article!

  12. November 1, 2017 / 4:18 pm

    I have not heard or used this app before, bu it is really good to know! Thank you

  13. November 1, 2017 / 6:13 pm

    Great post! This is a great news. It looks so much benefit for traveler with very good price.

  14. November 10, 2017 / 12:30 pm

    Great info and tips! Those suggestions will surely help a lot of frequent travellers 🙂

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