Quick Boarding Options

Let’s face it – business travel is not glamorous, and it is always unpredictable. As safety efforts have increased over recent years stemming from a variety of threats and concerns, the challenges of maneuvering through security checkpoints is one of the most frustrating components of any trip. To help you navigate the lines, necessary documentation, and body scans, TI offers an overview of the pros and cons of each available alternative, as well as the costs associated, should you wish to consider allowing reimbursable expenses within your policy.


The option that has been around the longest and that touts the largest number of members to date is TSA PreCheck. To enroll, applicants can either pre-register online and then make an appointment for an interview at an application center, or go to a center and complete the entire process in person. Travelers will need their passport or immigration documents, or their driver’s license and birth certificate. The TSA will process the application through various security databases and reply as to the approval usually within two weeks with a Known Traveler Number (KTN). About 1.5 million travelers are currently enrolled.

Pros to TSA PreCheck: Cons to TSA PreCheck:
TSA PreCheck members are sent to a dedicated line for their security checks with no need to remove laptops, shoes, or separate liquids TSA PreCheck is only available within the United States as a point of origin.
Many airline loyalty programs include PreCheck as a benefit to your frequent flier status. There is no guarantee a PreCheck line is available at every terminal or checkpoint, and may have restricted hours.
The lines may appear to be longer than years past; however, the speed of moving through the security lines is dramatically faster. Preapproved travelers are not guaranteed access to TSA PreCheck lines. Be sure to enter your Known Traveler Number (KTN) when you make the reservation to ensure the airline knows you are part of a Trusted Traveler program.


CLEAR is a program that utilizes biometrics to identify the traveler through the government approved databases, eliminating the need for producing proof of identification. Travelers will use a dedicated line and be assisted by a CLEAR representative who will oversee accreditation at the kiosk, validating a scan of the boarding pass, and either fingerprints or iris identification. Travelers are then expedited through the screening process. Travelers who mix programs and are members of both CLEAR and TSA PreCheck, for example, can use CLEAR to bypass the documentation line and then use TSA PreCheck to benefit from their faster security screening.

Pros to CLEAR: Cons to CLEAR:
CLEAR uses biometrics in lieu of documentation verification. CLEAR is the most expensive of the quick boarding options.
For the cost, CLEAR can also be used in non-travel venues, such as concert arenas and sports stadiums. While it is expanding quickly, CLEAR is only available in 19 U.S. airports.
CLEAR moves travelers through the security checkpoints significantly faster than any of the other options. Travelers will still need to go through security screening, although they will be escorted.

Global Entry

Global Entry allows U.S. Citizens to skip the Customs line and scan their passports and fingerprints into a kiosk when reentering the United States. There are 59 airports currently participating in the Global Entry program. Eligibility is extended to U.S. citizens and permanent residents and citizens of Argentina, India, Colombia, United Kingdom, Germany, Panama, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, and Mexico.

Canadian citizens and residents are eligible for Global Entry benefits through membership in the NEXUS program. To sign up, applicants will complete a form online. If an applicant receives conditional approval, he can log into his account in 7-10 days to schedule an interview. The downside is that it can take months to get an interview due to the number of applicants. There are currently 2.4 million people enrolled in Global Entry.

Pros to Global Entry: Cons to Global Entry:
There is no queuing for passport control checks, and travelers do not need to fill out paper Customs forms Global Entry requires travelers to give up a lot of personal information, such as fingerprinting, social security number, and biometrics.
The potential exists to use your Global Entry pass in other countries, and there is no minimum number of international trips needed to qualify. A five-year residence and employment history is required, along with a background check and an interview – which may take months to schedule.
The program cost includes TSA PreCheck. Personal data is held in a database for 75 years and is accessible by the FBI and state and local law enforcement.

The chart below provides side-by-side comparisons of all three programs, including pricing and participating locations.

  Perks Participants Price

TSA PreCheck

A dedicated, low volume lane at many airport security checkpoints in which you can keep your shoes on and your liquids, laptops, and electronics in your carry on bag. TSA PreCheck is currently available at 200 airports with 42 participating airlines nationwide. $85 nonrefundable application fee

Global Entry

Global Entry members simply scan their passport, press their fingerprints on the scanner at the automated kiosk, and have your photo taken. TSA PreCheck is included in your Global Entry enrollment, which allows you to use the security fast
lane for five years.
59 of the world’s most popular international airports. $100 nonrefundable application fee


Bypass the pre-security documentation line after scanning your fingerprint or iris, and get escorted to an expedited security line. Children under the age of 18 go to the expedited line with you. 19 U.S. airports: Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York Orlando, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, and Washington D.C. $179 per year, plus $50 for additional adult family members
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