CONSUMER FILE

How to reduce time in Salt Lake Airport security lines

Jun 15, 2018, 5:35 PM | Updated: 9:15 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Officials expect Salt Lake International Airport to see 25,000 fliers day this summer. That’s a 6 percent bump over last summer – and for travelers, that means even longer security lines.

The good news is there are steps you can take to minimize your wait time.

BECOME A TRUSTED TRAVELER

If you fly frequently, paying the $85 for a five-year membership to TSA PreCheck could be well worth looking into.

Passengers wait in security lines at Salt Lake International Airport.

Joshua Thornton enrolled and he loves it.

“It’s really simple. Takes about an hour to apply,” explained Thornton. “You’ll get to bypass most of the security line most of the time.”

PreCheck essentially is an in-depth background check.

“There’s an interview process,” said Nancy Volmer, spokeswoman for the Salt Lake City Department of Airports. “You come out to the airport and do an interview.”

Once you’re cleared, said Volmer, “It puts you into a line where you don’t have to remove your shoes [or] your belt. You don’t have to remove your laptop or liquids from your carry-on.”


Experts say travel off peak days and time will reduce the wait in security lines.


Overseas travelers should consider Global Entry, a program that allows fliers to confirm their identities and complete a customs declaration at a kiosk instead waiting in long lines at the customs area when you’re returning from abroad. A five-year Global Entry membership costs $100, only $15 more than TSA’s PreCheck. But here’s a big perk – it includes all the benefits of PreCheck when you’re flying domestically.

Jason Nawrocki went a different route. He signed up for CLEAR. He doesn’t wait in line to show a boarding pass or his identity. CLEAR kiosks scan fingerprints or irises to confirm identities in seconds.

“Minneapolis airport was the busiest I’ve ever seen it this morning and I raced right through,” Nawrocki says of his experience in the CLEAR line.

Once your identity has been confirmed, a CLEAR representative takes you straight to the front of the line for TSA screening.

“So you can even get ahead of the TSA PreCheck folks when you’re going through that process,” says Volmer.

CLEAR costs $179 a year to use.

DRESS FOR THE OCCASION

Chances are, you’re going to have to remove you shoes before going through the metal detectors or body scanners. Consider wearing slip-ons or shoes without laces.

Flier Wendy Wells says that’s really sped up the process for her.

“Wear clothes that are easy to travel in so you can move through quickly,” said Wells. “You don’t have to hassle with shoes, buckles and things.”

HAVE YOUR ID AND TICKET OUT

Have your identity documents and boarding pass in hand, ready to show.

“Have your bags ready, things out of your pocket before you go up to the actual detectors,” said Thornton.

Volmer advises that once you’ve cleared the detectors and your stuff has gone through, take the bin and move away from the security line to put yourself together.

“That saves you time and it’s a little more convenient for passengers wanting to go through the line as quickly as they can,” says Volmer.

KNOW THE RULES

Check TSA’s ever-changing policies online before your flight, so you’re not bringing something through security you can’t.

“That really delays the line and makes the rest of the passengers a little anxious because they’re not getting through the security checkpoint,” says Volmer.

AVOID PEAK TIMES

If your flight departure and arrival is flexible, consider flying out at odd hours. You’ll avoid long lines, anxious passengers and could save money on airfare.

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How to reduce time in Salt Lake Airport security lines