The summer travel season is just kicking into gear and already the stories of long delays and missed flights at airports across the country are trickling out faster than melted ice cream running down the side of the cone.
Several challenges face travelers this summer, from record demand for flights to long delays in security lines caused by understaffing, the result of the Transportation Security Administration overestimating demand for its PreCheck trusted trusted-traveler program.
“Travel delays are going to get worse before they get better,” Brian Karimzad, director of Milecards.com, told Fortune magazine following his organization’s creation of an Airport Misery Score index.
But there still is an opportunity for frequent flyers to minimize the delays they face.
Appleton International Airport is hosting a TSA PreCheck enrollment through June 3. TSA PreCheck is an expedited screening program that enables enrolled travelers to enjoy a more efficient screening experience when traveling. TSA PreCheck members do not need to remove shoes, 3-1-1 liquids, laptops, light outerwear or belts when using a TSA PreCheck lane.
There is a catch, though. You can’t just walk in and sign up. Plan on spending some time on the enrollment process now to avoid spending it in security lines later this summer when trying to catch a flight.
Patrick Tracey, marketing director for ATW, offered some simple tips to ease the process:
- Travelers must pre-enroll at ATWairport.com; look for TSA PreCheck.
- Plan on a 2-3 hour wait for walk-in interviews.
- Be certain that your identification will meet TSA requirements by carefully reading information on the pre-enrollment site.
“We are enrolling 200 people each day, and travelers are thrilled to be able to obtain TSA PreCheck in Appleton,” Tracey says. “We have a very efficient system set up to handle the steady stream of PreCheck enrollees, however people should realize it will be 2-3 hours waiting time for their interview.”
The airport is posting regular line wait-time updates on Twitter, @ATWairport.
Appleton Airport is open on Memorial Day, Monday May 30 for TSA PreCheck interviews from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Green Bay’s Austin Straubel International began offering the PreCheck program in 2015. An identeGO office at 601 S. Military Ave. provides PreCheck signup service Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., according to the TSA’s website.
Free parking will be available in the short-term lot for those participating in the screening. Applicants do not need to be a ticketed passenger to participate in the program. TSA PreCheck certification is $85 and is valid for five years.