We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The US TSA offers a few Trusted Traveler programs which reduce some or much of the annoyance of air travel.
The Pre-Check is easy to obtain. The Global Entry is a bit more involved, but worth it for regular travelers. You can do most of the processes at the TSA website, but a brief in-person interview is required for all of these. It's a vetting process.
Somewhat related, many states now offer "Real ID" driving licenses. It's a minor hassle to collect the info your DMV wants for this, but worth doing for some people. You can upgrade your license to REAL ID any time. Next year, REAL ID will be required.
Ideally, make a lot of money and fly private... no fuss.
When son went to college out West, we figured we'd be flying a fair amount to go see him. The last Pre-Check flight we got stuck for two hours in the security line in Denver. (To give them their due, they were expeditiously processing people, but there were SO MANY PEOPLE...)
So we applied for Pre-Check. Security isn't quite walk-through, but it's a whole lot better than regular lines. It was worth the cost, IMO...
I toil for an airline and travel by air as little as possible. TSA clowns delight in degrading and delaying folks but I'll take the time and do the grope a dope front and center, after all it makes my fellow travelers feel really safe.
There are a couple of states that haven't switched to it yet, and have been given the "last" final extension by Congress to start. OK has still put it off for some reason, legislative laziness I think. I don't think anyone with a driver license will have a choice once it's all done, but at some point you you will need a pass port to board a domestic flight if you still don't have one.
I travel a lot for work. Several years ago I was frequently going to Canada from Boston. One Friday afternoon I was heading home from Toronto and stuck in the Disney-esque border control line to re-enter the States. I spotted some folks at the far end of the room that were just flying through. When I asked who they were and why they could skip the long line I was told they had NEXUS. So I figured out how to get one too. Haven't waited in a line like that since.
My NEXUS account has migrated to Global Entry (GOES) and I get TSA Pre on all my domestic flights. The only issue is that some of the smaller airports don't have a separate TSA Pre screening line.
I have Global Entry which includes TSA-Pre. Very useful.
It also includes an ID that negates any need to show your DL for domestic travel. NJ's DL is not yet "real ID" so I don't bother with it when flying. Back around April I was flying international out of JFK my boarding pass was not marked TSA-pre for some reason. I tried to get the idiot guarding the gate at the TSA-Pre line to let me in using the Global Entry ID but he wouldn't accept it. I failed to figure out what the issue was and my return boarding pass also failed to have TSA-Pre marked on it. But the guy at that airport understood that our Global Entry IDs carried TSA-Pre and let us through. JFK clearly needs better training.
Global Entry really is nice when coming home on international flights. Just show your passport to the kiosk real quick and then walk on through the sparse, and smiling, customs agents.
Got a special scribble on my boarding pass at MCI (aka KCI) a couple weeks ago - they didn't have a TSA-Pre line open - that I was supposed to hold up and I would get TSA-Pre treatment other than a shorter line. But they opened a TSA-pre line almost immediately so it worked out fine.
Global Entry is nice but The best one of all is free and easy. Get the Mobile Pass app on your phone and skip the lines when re-entering the US. Fill it out when you're 30 minutes from landing and hit the Send button the moment the wheels touch then walk on through.
I have Global Entry from a few years ago, easy-peasy set up interview at airport. If I buy wife's airline ticket separately (which I MUST do with Southwest Companion Pass), she does not get TSA pre-check with me. So I signed her up for Global Entry earlier this year. She did not get pre-approved until after the Govt. S/D in February. Now, government has warning note on the website that the S/D caused tremendous back log. Many offices now closed. Months long wait for interview appointment. We're in Houston. Only International Terminal behind Security for interviews. We can drive to Austin or San Antonio airports for appointment six weeks in future. Some offices don't have available appointments until 1Q 2020. F#$%@ng bureaucrats dragging their feet trying to gum up the works.