It happened to Andy Lundberg when he was flying recently from Kansas City to Baltimore on Southwest Airlines. A Transportation Security Administration screener pointed him to the PreCheck line, where he waited behind a dozen other frequent travelers with the agency’s trusted traveler designation.
“There were two people in the regular line,” says Lundberg, a sales manager from Kansas City.
Lundberg’s scenario isn’t unique. Increasingly, travelers such as him who paid for their membership and submitted to a background check are finding that the fast lanes are actually slower than the non-PreCheck lines. And they’re wondering why they even bothered.
Merinda Edmonds, a photographer from St. Louis, recently flew with her mother from Sacramento to St. Louis. Edmonds has PreCheck status, her mother doesn’t. “She actually made it through security faster than I did,” Edmonds says.
TSA insists experiences like Edmonds’ and Lundberg’s are the exception rather than the rule. Virtually all passengers wait less than 30 minutes in standard checkpoint lines, and 99.6% of TSA PreCheck members waited less than 10 minutes in line, according to the agency. In other words, the fast lane is almost always faster.
With Black Friday and Cyber Monday anchoring an ever-growing calendar of holiday marketing gimmicks, consumers have no shortage of deal-hunting opportunities around the Thanksgiving holiday.
That’s especially true in the travel industry, where hotels, cruise lines and other travel providers all get in on the act.
Airlines are in the mix too, though holiday bargain-seekers looking for airline deals might be advised to temper their expectations.
Saudi Arabia is unlikely to be on your vacation list. Its government is trying hard to change that.
The kingdom already welcomes millions of Muslims pilgrims who come to visit Mecca each year, and it is now gearing up to attract conventional tourists.
“The targets are people who want to literally experience this country and the grandness of this country,” Prince Sultan bin Salman, head of the Saudi tourism and national heritage commission, told CNNMoney’s Richard Quest.
Saudi Arabia plans to issue its first tourist visas in 2018, the prince said. Visas were previously restricted to people traveling to the country for work or to visit its holy sites.
When Jennifer Hudson is on hand to kick off the opening, it’s pretty clear the property is not your average hotel.
Add to that the star power of former President Barack Obama, who has already visited and spent the night, and the wow factor hits different levels.
These are just a few of the highlights worth noting when it comes to the Marriott Marquis Chicago, which recently held its grand opening festivities. The 1,205-room property is the largest hotel to open in Chicago this year and the biggest hotel Marriott has opened in North America during 2017.
The 40-story building, which includes 93,000-square-feet of high-tech meeting space, is located just a few blocks from the shores of Lake Michigan, along South Prairie Avenue in the city’s up-and-coming entertainment and convention district of McCormick Square.