10 Travel-savvy Airport Tips

Use Expedited Screening Programs
If you qualify for an expedited screening program, this part of your journey could go much more smoothly. ©Corbis/Jack Hollingsworth

If you're a frequent flier -- or just want frequent-flier perks -- consider looking into expedited security screening programs.

While only 7 percent of fliers were eligible for these programs at the end of 2012, more and new types of expedited screening options are currently being made available across more airlines and more airports [source: Stellin].

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), for example, has a trusted traveler program, PreCheck. Membership in PreCheck is based on how risky you look to the TSA. Frequent fliers determined to be low-risk are allowed to stay full-dressed -- yes, that means you get to wear your belt and shoes -- and keep items such as liquids and your laptop packed in your carry-on bag while going through security screening.

Pre-approved fliers who travel internationally may qualify for expedited customs upon re-entering the U.S. through the Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) Global Entry (GE) program. CBP's GE program uses biometrics; every member's fingerprints are kept on file and used as verification to clear you through the security checkpoint in a snap.

CBP also runs other trusted traveler programs such as SENTRI (for travel between the U.S. and Mexico) and NEXUS (for travel between the U.S. and Canada).

You may qualify for expedited screening because of your age or your active military status, as well as your security clearance status rather than through a program. For example, seniors age 75 or older and kids age 12 and under may qualify for expedited screening just based on their age.