For US Citizens, there are two main expedited airport programs:
- Flying mainly domestic? Apply for TSA Pre. With a 5 year $85 membership, you can speed through security and don’t need to remove your shoes, laptops, liquids, belts and light jackets.
- Flying internationally? Apply for Global Entry, which includes TSA Pre. With a 5 year $100 membership, you get TSA Pre but also expedited entry when arriving in the US from a foreign country. No more long immigration lines.
It generally makes sense to just apply for Global Entry since it's only $15 more. To be approved, you need to go in for an interview that's typically booked out far in advance online. It's possible to walk in, but make sure to go in the early mornings so you don't wait long. Most people don't have a problem doing it this way, but it's not 100% guaranteed. Find an enrollment center.
Certain credit cards, like the Sapphire Reserve, will reimburse you for the fees.
CLEAR is another alternative for only the US. While it can be faster than TSA Pre during crowded times, it's really only worthwhile if you fly domestic a lot. Many other countries also have their own expedited program (see this list).