TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD: Airline Traveling This Summer

Author: , June 4th, 2016

airline tsa

TSA airline linesOh, the horrors of airline traveling this summer. Since 9/11 it has gotten worse and worse and even worse if that is possible. Now it is even worse! Lines at the TSA are getting longer and longer and taking forever to go thru. People are missing their flights because of this and people are getting extremely fed up and frustrated.

The Transportation Security Agency’s “Precheck program” is designed to fix that problem and move the lines much quicker however only about 2.75 million people have enrolled to date which is far below projections.

The TSA wants to have at least 25 million people signed up by 2019 for federal ‘trusted traveler’ programs for domestic travel, and Global Entry which is the program for International travelers operated by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. And just what is this “Precheck program”? You can complete the online application or you can complete the entire process in person at an application center. Schedule an appointment by calling 855. 347.8371 weekdays, 8 A.M. to 10 P.M. Eastern Time.

TSA airline dogWalk-ins are welcome but appointments take priority. Visit an applications center to provide required documentation and be fingerprinted. Be sure and bring your current U.S. passport or a driver’s license and birth certificate. Pay a non-refundable fee of $85.00 which will last for 5 years. Payment may be made with a credit card, money order,company check or a certified or cashier’s check. You can obtain a ‘precheck’ at most airports.

It takes about 10 days to two weeks to get your ‘precheck” number in the mail. Then whenever you make an airline reservation, be sure and give them that number, otherwise you will need to stand in the regular lines. Those who have this ‘pass’ do not have to remove their shoes, laptops, 3-1-1 liquids, belts or light jackets. Since you are in a special line, naturally the wait time is much shorter or at least that is the way the system should work! For more information on the TSA’s Precheck program, check out: www.tsa.gov/tsa-precheck/apply and https://www.tsa.gov/tsa-precheck/airlines-airports

airline virginSpeaking of airlines, the latest reports out on the good and the bad and the ugly for airline companies, the ratings for the best down to the worst according to CNN : Virgin America, JetBlue, Delta, Hawaiian, Alaska, Southwest, SkyWest, United, Express Jet, American, Frontier, Envoy Air and Spirit at the bottom. The major complaints are the rise of ticket changing prices, lack of improvement of airline amenities, and most of all NO SERVICE once you are in the air. A great website to visit about airline complaints can be found at www.airlinecomplaints.org/

Some things in life we can handle and other things we just have to simply grin and bear it. At this point in history and especially when flying we really have few choices. So it is best to always take a book or two or three with you and just relax and don’t sweat the small things in life that you have absolutely no control over. Getting all worked up and getting your blood pressure going sky high is not the answer.

As for us, we have not flown in the past 15 years. Since we live in the middle of the country and have the time, we always drive from coast to coast. Sure, once in a while there is a traffic jam or something like that but it is never for a very long time. We can dine where we want to and enjoy the scenery along the way. However we fully understand that there are a lot of travelers out there that do not have the luxury of time that we do and have to fly.

Good luck this summer in your traveling and hopefully all of your airline traveling will be safe and with no major time delays or anything like that. Just remember do not sweat the things that you cannot control and enjoy yourself with a good book.

Don and RayAlways remember to have fun when traveling, meet new people and talk to everyone!

TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD is written by Donald Pile and Ray Williams, Award-winning, Celebrity travel columnists who write for gay publications from coast to coast (And now legally married).

Proud members of the IGLTA. You can email them at gaytravelers@aol.com and visit their website at http://gaytravelersataol.blogspot.com/

Transgender Passenger Humiliated by TSA

Author: , January 11th, 2016

body scan

A transgender passenger has said he was humiliated and demeaned when he was forced to remove his prosthetic penis by airline staff.

Subjected to a full body scan, an Australian airport staff member donned two pairs of gloves to handle the penis, saying: ‘You want me to touch that thing with my bare hands?’

This incident, which took place in 2015, is the subject of a complaint made via the National LGBTI Health Alliance to a Senate committee inquiry on airport and aviation security.

By Joe Morgan – Full Story at Gay Star News

Other Gay Travel Events

All About the TSA’s Preclearance Program

Author: , January 30th, 2014

TSA PreThere’s been a bit of a stir this week concerning a new U.S. Customs facility at Abu Dhabi International Airport, which is now offering preclearance for all U.S. citizens heading directly to the United States from Abu Dhabi. That means that U.S. citizens can pass through American customs before they arrive on American soil.

Though the UAE boasts one of the world’s most progressive economies, the new service has raised eyebrows among American pilots and certain members of Congress who believe that the new facility gives an unfair competitive advantage to Etihad Airways, which operates the only route between Abu Dhabi and the U.S.. Politics aside, preclearance is popular among American travelers, and for good reason. It helps them skip lengthy customs lines at home. And though it’s still only available at a few airports worldwide, here are the nuts and bolts of the program and how it can help you when you’re flying back home.

What is Preclearance? The CBP Preclearance program essentially inserts a cadre of U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents inside an international airport. Once a U.S. citizen passes through that country’s own security lines, they are then allowed to pass through an additional security line — one manned by American agents. This procedure mimics the procedure used in U.S. airports, and allows the passenger to clear both security and customs before ever landing on U.S. soil. It requires an extra 10 to 20 minutes prior to take-off, but it allows flyers to skip massive immigration lines once they return home.

Authored By Darren Murph – See the Full Story at Sherman’s Travel

Click here for gay travel resources.

TSA Plans Change in Security Procedures for Gay Couples

Author: , January 23rd, 2014

TSA LogoThe Washington Blade has learned the Transportation Security Administration is poised to allow same-sex couples to undergo pre-flight security screenings together in response to two recent incidents with American Airlines personnel at a Colombian airport.

Hunter Carter, a prominent same-sex marriage advocate in Latin America who said American Airlines personnel at the airport in the Colombian city of Medellin separated him and his husband, Cesar Zapata, as they tried to check into their Miami-bound flight on Jan. 18, received an e-mail from Alec Bramlett, senior litigation attorney for the airline, on Wednesday afternoon.

“TSA has communicated to our Corporate Security folks that they are working on a technical change to its directive, and that pending that change, we can immediately begin screening same-sex spouses together,” wrote Bramlett in the e-mail the Blade obtained from Carter. “We are working on communicating this change in procedures to our stations ASAP.”

Authored By Michael K. Lavers – See the Full Story at The Washington Blade

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TSA Treatment of Transgender Travelers

Author: , January 11th, 2014

Transgender FlagRight-wing radio and media are having a fit about “special considerations” being afforded transgender travelers by the federal Transportation Security Administration. It’s really much ado about nothing: Read the official web page on the TSA website and judge for yourself:

Transgender Travel: Special Considerations

TSA recognizes the concerns members of the transgender community may have with undergoing the security screening process at our Nation’s airports and is committed to conducting screening in a dignified and respectful manner. These travel tips will explain the various screening processes and technologies travelers may encounter at security checkpoints.

Preparing for Travel

Making Reservations: Secure Flight requires airlines to collect a traveler’s full name, date of birth, gender and Redress Number (if applicable) to significantly decrease the likelihood of watch list misidentification. Travelers are encouraged to use the same name, gender, and birth date when making the reservation that match the name, gender, and birth date indicated on the government-issued ID that the traveler intends to use during travel.

See the Full Story at SDGLN

Click here for gay travel resources.