See you on the other side: Traveling with a partner who doesn’t have expedited security screening

Jan 4, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

You know what they say: You don’t truly know someone until you’ve traveled with them.

Okay, okay. Maybe that’s not a common phrase, but it’s definitely a thought that crosses frequent travelers’ minds when planning a trip with a partner.

You see, traveling with a potential lifelong partner can be the ultimate relationship test. It gives you insight into how the person deals with stress, the unfamiliar, decision making… the list could go on.

Sign up for the free daily TPG newsletter for more travel tips!

But before the trip even begins, there’s one hot topic that always sparks debate, as Slate recently reported on: What do you do if you have TSA PreCheck, Global Entry, or Clear and your partner doesn’t?

CLEAR machines (Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)
CLEAR machines (Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

TPG Executive News Director and frequent flyer Scott Mayerowitz shared his thoughts on the topic: “I become a different person at an airport. While many folks are lost or confused, I’m in my element, dodging past suitcases, strollers and the ever-dangerous Cinnabon kiosks. That efficient, speedy mindset starts at the curb. The last thing I want to slow me — or anybody traveling with me — down is the security checkpoint. My wife and I both had Global Entry before we started dating. It was one of many signs that this was a match made in heaven. But then a few years ago I got Clear. And the equation changed. Suddenly, I was faced with waiting an extra minute or two (I know, the horror) at security or ditching my wife for the faster Clear lane and dealing with the much-longer consequences. As a Delta Diamond Medallion member, I get my Clear membership for free. I can add family members for $50 extra per person. So I quickly enrolled my wife and we now breeze through security together. And yes, our daughter can use Clear for free with us.”

While paying the $50 to add an extra person seems like a simple fix (53% of readers responded that they would nag their partner until they submitted their clearance application), it’s not always quite that easy. Some people’s partners are hesitant and even resistant to the expedited services. We reached out to TPG readers for their take on the security clearance debate.

Kasheik P. shared, “My husband refuses to get Global Entry because he thinks the process is annoying…He calls me selfish for not waiting with him. Nope. He can do it and refuses to. Why should I suffer for someone’s refusal to do something? Not going to dim my light.”

Join the conversation in the TPG Lounge on Facebook!

Sherry R. made the point that, “…waiting around for them just negates your paying for one for yourself!”

And then came the responses to the great debate: What do you do if you have an expedited service and your partner doesn’t? This is where the answers got funny and even a bit savage.

No PreCheck? We’re done.

Is that even a question? Well, for many TPG readers this was a no-questions-asked kind of thing. You’ve either both got it or you’re just not meant to be (3% of readers responded they would flat out find a new partner in this situation).

David F. bluntly said, “Leave them at the airport.”

Brian P. was already looking ahead with the advice to, “Find a new partner.”

See ya on the other side

Emily B. showed her partner the value of saving time by, “[meeting] him at the priority pass lounge where I was already drinking my free beer.”

Charmaine G. showed off her Global Entry pass by having food waiting on the other side, “My husband has TSA Pre through work but not Global Entry! When we went to the Bahamas, the line was sooooooooo long and I totally skipped it with Global Entry. I got his food and waited for close to an hour for him to get through the line!”

Who needs anymore convincing than that? In fact, 18% of readers responded they would carry on as they normally would, leaving their partner to fend for themselves.

Meanwhile, you can find TPG points and miles reporter Vikkie Walker “wait[ing] in the lounge while contemplating a new relationship.”

Watch and learn

Larry S. was hopeful that “they will eventually see the error in their ways and apply.”

Being a true traveler, Rory L. posed the question: “Why wouldn’t my partner have it?”

Credit cards editor Benét Wilson shared, “My daughter and I have Global Entry and Clear. Her father refused to get it for quite awhile. We would leave him at the gate and chill in the lounge. It took him almost missing an international flight to see the light. Don’t nag. Just do you. They’ll figure it out — or not.”

I’ll wait…

Said no one ever. Well, practically no one. A measly 2% of readers admitted they would join their clearance-less partner in the regular security line.

Bottom line

TSA PreCheck and Global Entry is an included perk with many travel rewards credit cards. If you already have the expedited service yourself, consider gifting the credit to a loved one and save yourself the frustration of waiting on them. If it’s a matter of your partner not seeing the value in the expedited service, don’t worry — they’ll eventually catch on… hopefully.

Some responses have been edited for clarity and/or length.

So what side of the debate are you on? Sound off in the comments below.

Featured photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.