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Why You’ll Really Want to Have TSA PreCheck Before Summer

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Checking a bag, getting through the security checkpoint and making it to the gate in time is a passenger’s responsibility, but when customers arrive at the airport a couple hours before departure and still don’t have enough time to board before the door closes, it becomes difficult for the airline to justify turning them away without booking them a seat on the next flight. That’s why airlines are speaking out against long checkpoint wait times, either via emails to customers or by taking the issue to the press.

This week, American Airlines spokesman Ross Feinstein was quoted in an airline statement discussing the new checkpoint challenge, saying “The lines at TSA checkpoints nationwide have become unacceptable. The result: our customers are waiting in TSA lines greater than one hour.”

The airline is clearly concerned about security queues delaying flights or causing passengers to miss boarding cutoff times. During the week of March 14, a busy spring break travel period, American said that 6,800 passengers missed their flights, with the biggest delays at ATL, DFW, LAX, MIA and PHL. The issue is only expected to get worse as we approach summer.

So, what can you do about it? Your best bet is to apply for Global Entry, which comes along with free TSA PreCheck access every time you fly (from the US, at least). If you apply for Global Entry now — you can get it for free with some cards, including Citi Prestige and The Platinum Card from American Express — you should have enough time to enroll and get an appointment in May or June (or you can always try walking in without an appointment), getting you PreCheck before things really get out of hand this summer. Meanwhile, if you can’t sign up in time (or you don’t want to), you’ll probably want to arrive at the airport even earlier than before — or risk missing your flight.

H/T: Travel + Leisure

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