Getting through airport security is one of the most stressful parts of traveling, especially when it comes to JFK and LaGuardia. These airports are some of the busiest in the world, and everyone has a horror story about being stuck in security for what felt like an eternity. Fortunately, there are a few ways that you can make your travels simpler so you can speed through security in no time.
Join TSA Pre-Check and Global Entry
TSA’s Pre-Check program was designed specifically to combat long wait times in security lines by allowing travelers to register ahead of time and avoid the line altogether. With TSA Pre-Check, you pay a subscription fee of $85 that allows you to skip the line for up to five years, but you have to go to an enrollment center in advance and go through a complete background check and fingerprinting process. The good news is that this appointment is relatively short, and it will save you time every time you travel for years to come.
Global Entry is almost exactly like TSA Pre-Check, except that it is targeted at people who travel internationally. This is important for JFK and LaGuardia since so much of the traffic here is related to international flights.
CLEAR is a slightly different program available to travelers, also through a subscription fee. With this program, you are really just jumping to the front of the security line, rather than bypassing it altogether. Instead of handing your ID and boarding pass to a TSA agent, you check in with an automated kiosk and then follow a separate line up to the security checkpoint. This is an annual membership, but kids under 18 are free.
Aside from paying to join the programs above, you can also make life easier on yourself by packing smarter. For instance, pack only the items that you really need and avoid overpacking your bag. Secondly, make sure that your liquids are accessible and within TSA limits so that you won’t have to throw things out once you reach security. Remember to empty your water bottles before you get in line, and try to wear comfortable slip-on shoes on the day of your flight so you won’t have to fight with laces at the checkpoint.
With these tips in mind, you are ready for your next adventure at JFK or LaGuardia. If you plan far enough in advance, joining the Pre-Check program or the CLEAR program is a great way to minimize wait times, and Global Entry is ideal if you will be leaving the country. Otherwise, make sure that your bags are packed in a way that is easy for you to take out the necessary items without dumping your whole bag in front of security.
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