The world's quickly becoming a smaller place. Most of the time I think this is great thing - everyone has so many options to see new places, try new things, and meet new people. Travel has never been more affordable or more accessible to the average person. Just think - it's perfectly reasonable now to visit every continent in the world or see every major world city over your lifetime on a middle-class budget, feats that were restricted to only a few until recent human history.
Then you get to the customs hall in Tokyo on a weekday morning after being awake for 24 hours, and you gaze across the miles and miles of travelers lined up in front of you and you think that perhaps we as a people could stand to take a few steps backwards and it'd be alright...
Luckily you have some options for dealing with the crowds. Some are free perks, and some you have to pay for, but if you do a lot of international air travel they're invaluable. If you have any questions whether there are time-saving options for one of your upcoming trips, chat with your agent or consult with us here.
Trusted Traveler Programs
These are run by government bodies. In exchange for a lot of information and a fee, the government will run background checks and verify that you are low-risk. In exchange you get perks like minimal security screening, faster security lines, and expedited entry through customs. In the US, check out CPB's Global Entry program for international travel, which includes TSA Pre-Check status domestically.
$85-100 for five years
Fly Business or First
Maybe it's too obvious, but Business and First come with some great perks. If you fit the fare into your budget you may move faster at the airport - some countries give First and Business passengers complimentary access to their version of "Global Entry" upon landing. If the country also has customs upon departure you will be expedited there as well. Not to mention, you usually get to skip lines in the airport too.
Contact your agent. This depends on your travel.
Check Your Credit Card
Credit card perks have greatly improved in recent years for travelers. Some will reimburse you for your Global Entry or Pre-Check fees, others will give you faster security screening or boarding with a particular airline. Check your agreements carefully for the details or speak with your card issuer. If you travel often, consider switching to a new card with better perks.
Yearly fees between $0-$500
Frequent Flyer Programs
Similar to the credit card perks, frequent flyer rewards have been designed to speed up your travel at the airport. Airlines will often reduce your wait time for most services. At the higher ends, they will give you special customer service agents to help you, or even drive you across the tarmac to catch a last-minute flight. Building that loyalty restricts your travel options, but talk to your agent if you have your sights set on these perks.
"Free", but you must focus trips on one airline
Some countries and regions have special programs to encourage specific types of travel. For instance, travelers who do business in Asia can apply for an APEC card which allows them to use speedier lanes when entering and exiting some Pacific countries. Fun Fact: You get to use some of the diplomatic lanes in China - talk about VIP!
$70 for US Citizens with qualifying preconditions