A Global Rescue survey revealed 7-out-of-10 of the world’s most experienced travelers are members of a Trusted Traveler Program, like TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. That’s more than double the percentage compared to average American flyers, according to a TSA official Daniel Velez. “Since October 2023, a little over 30% of travelers transiting the checkpoint enjoy TSA PreCheck screening benefits,” he said.

If you traveled during the post-pandemic travel rebound, you probably noticed long lines to check in and get through security. And if you traveled internationally, then you were more than likely waiting in a long line to clear customs.


Long lines at a crowded airport security screening area.


As travel volumes increase, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is advancing programs to streamline traveler processing while maintaining security. Trusted traveler programs, like TSA PreCheck and Global Entry, have been embraced by travelers. But new security screening and customs processing programs are on the way, and some are already here.

The Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), a division of DHS, is relying on technology to speed things up at traveler chokepoints, like security lines, while decreasing the demand for additional staff power. One S&T solution under review is the Screening at Speed Program that allows PreCheck passengers to conduct a self-service screening with “minimal to no assistance” from Transportation Security Officers.

How does it work? Like a scene in the movie, Total Recall, Screening at Speed technology would “enable the scanning of walking passengers, acquiring data through most garments and reliably detecting a wider range of prohibited items regardless of concealment,” according to officials. Traveler volunteers helped test the system in March 2023 at Reagan National Airport. In January 2024, PreCheck travelers using the Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas will get their first chance to use the self-service screening prototype.

If you’re a PreCheck member then you will be among the first to experience the futuristic scan-while-you-walk screening devices. But you will be one of 15 million waiting to try it. The PreCheck program surpassed 15 million active members, growing by 50% since 2020 and setting a record for the program that began in December 2013.

“PreCheck is one of the most innovative, efficient and effective risk-based security solutions in the agency’s 21-year history,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. The program provides shared benefits that include “wait times of less than 10 minutes, greater checkpoint efficiency and improved security,” he said.

“Most of my travel is domestic, so I’m a PreCheck member because it allows me to be more confident when it comes to timing since I don’t have to build in an extra cushion for potentially long waiting lines,” said Global Rescue’s CFO, Marietta Formanek.


Commercial airplanes wait at their gates at an airport during sunset.


But the program’s popularity sometimes backfires. “Sometimes the shorter lines for PreCheck don’t exist,” said Matt Aubin, Global Rescue’s associate director of channel partnerships and a PreCheck member. “It’s uncommon but I’ve actually seen times when PreCheck lines are longer than standard,” he said.

While that is a rare occurrence, PreCheck members don’t have to undress or unpack like their non-PreCheck counterparts to get through security – and that’s a benefit. Michael Holmes, who is a TSA Precheck member and the head of Global Rescue marketing, likes the shorter lines and faster speed through security the pass affords him. “Not having to take off my shoes, remove my computer from the bag, or take off my jacket to get through security is great.”

If the scan-while-you-walk tech succeeds, by 2025 PreCheck travelers like Holmes won’t even need to stop walking to get through security, let alone take their shoes off.

Global Entry is another DHS traveler program. The main benefit is that it allows members to glide through customs processing into the U.S. following an international trip. It requires pre-approval, which can be time-consuming.

“Global Entry was a pain to get at the time,” said Wil Klass, Global Rescue’s marketing director. “The next available interview time was more than a year away or a one-hour drive away. I opted to do my final required interview on the return from an international trip. Other than that, I love it because now I easily speed through customs,” he said.

The other main benefit of Global Entry, $100 for five years, is that it includes PreCheck, which costs $78 for five years. For the extra $22, most international travelers say the pros outweigh the cons, by far.

“When I return from an international trip and look at the lines for travelers without Global Entry, I always think that this is the best $100 I’ve spent,” said John Morris, associate director Enterprise Sales at Global Rescue.

If you’re a Global Entry member, your flight through customs will be faster if you use the recently introduced Global Entry Mobile Application, an app (available for free from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store) to complete your arrival processing instead of waiting in line to use a portal.

That’s good news for the 12 million Global Entry members who simply take a selfie photo which will be compared to a photo gallery to verify their identity through facial biometrics. After they submit their photo, the traveler receives a receipt on the app. “Once the traveler arrives at the primary customs inspection area, they can bypass the Global Entry portals and go directly to the Customs Border Patrol (CBP) officers to efficiently process their entry into the United States by showing their mobile receipt,” according to officials.

“The new Global Entry Mobile Application leverages the latest technologies, in order to enhance security while further improving the travel experience for CBP’s trusted travelers,” said CBP’s Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Commissioner Troy A. Miller.

The Global Entry Mobile Application is only available at seven airports: Seattle Tacoma International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Miami International Airport, Orlando International Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport, Pittsburgh International Airport, and George Bush Intercontinental Airport. CBP will continue to evaluate and expand the use of the app at airports where Global Entry processing occurs in the future.

What if you’re uncertain about getting a Global Entry trusted traveler membership? Perhaps you don’t travel internationally much, or you don’t want to wait a for long time for a final interview or travel far to get that interview? You’re in luck.

If you are a U.S. citizen, legal permanent resident, or eligible Canadian visitor there’s a free, downloadable app that does not require pre-approval and can speed up your entry to the U.S. It’s called Mobile Passport Control (MPC) and allows you to answer immigration questions after landing in the U.S. from an international destination but before reaching the immigration checkpoint, helping you to move more quickly through customs.


A person holds a passport with a brown travel bag on the ground next to him.


Harding Bush, a former Navy SEAL, TSA PreCheck member and the security manager for Global Rescue, is a world traveler and loves MPC. “I have used the MPC app and it’s faster than Global Entry – but that may be because it’s so new. I download the app, create an account, enter my arrival and travel information upon landing, and I go straight through immigration and there are hardly ever any lines,” he said.

MPC use is available in limited areas, including four seaports, 11 preclearance locations and 33 U.S. international airports like: Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International, Dallas/Fort Worth International, Denver International, and JFK airports. Eligible travelers submit their travel document, photo, and customs declaration information through the app on their smartphone or other mobile device.

MPC streamlines the traveler’s entry process into the U.S. by reducing passport control inspection time and overall wait time. You still have to be processed by a CBP officer but travelers using MPC will be directed to a specific processing lane for streamlined entry.


[Related Reading: Which Trusted Traveler Program Is Best for You?]


Pro Tip

Make sure you enter your Known Traveler Number (KTN) every time you book your ticket and confirm in advance it is on your boarding pass. If it’s not, you may have entered your information incorrectly or simply forgotten. Either way you’ll need to get help from a ticket agent to enter your KTN and reissue your boarding pass. You can also call your airline or the TSA.


The best ways to expedite security and provide you more peace of mind at the airport are through Trusted Traveler Programs. Travelers with a sense of adventure will bring along a Global Rescue medical evacuation and travel risk membership for peace of mind. A Global Rescue membership pays for the expense of a field rescue or medical evacuation, which can reach $300,000, if you become ill or hurt while traveling. For members of Global Rescue, the cost is $0. Without charge. In the absence of Global Rescue, your travel emergency may take longer, cost more and exacerbate a risky scenario. And, as Global Rescue’s Dan Richards told Forbes recently, given the unpredictability of the world today, travelers should be ready to evacuate their current location swiftly.