Oh, 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. Walk-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 Speaking 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. Always 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 [email protected] and visit their website at http://gaytravelersataol.blogspot.com/]]>
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.