Traveling with non-frequent fliers

Global EntryHere is the scenario. You are traveling internationally with your boss, and she does not have Global Entry. Should you go through the normal customs line with her? Or just zip through and meet up with her later? Another scenario: you’re traveling with someone junior than you, and he doesn’t have TSA Pre-check. Do you wait, or tell them you’ll meet them at the gate?

This was a question I got from a reader lately. What do you do when you have special access to the quick lanes but your traveling companions don’t? Is it rude to leave them behind?

“Do I stay in the main line with them, or use the expedited lanes and take the extra time saved to catch up on email while I wait for them to clear security? I’ll of course bring them to the lounge with me, but is it rude to abandon them for the sake of leaving my shoes on and bag packed?”

In my opinion, it depends on which scenario we’re talking about. If you’re traveling with your boss, I say wait in the slow lane. It’s not fun, but at least you’re being polite. Plus you’ll get some face time. (Although, I would also tell your boss about Global Entry or Nexus, and how it’s totally worth it for $100 or $50 for five years. Even if you only travel internationally occasionally!)

If you’re traveling with a subordinate, I think you can go either way. If you really don’t want to wait or you have work you need to do, tell them you have to get on a call or respond to some emails and you’ll see them at the gate. Unless, of course, it’s someone you enjoy traveling with. In that case, if you want to wait with them, than do.

Of course, there is the awkwardness of partially disrobing in front of colleagues. If that makes you uncomfortable, or you’re worried about needing a pat down, I would definitely go through the priority lane alone.

Readers, what do you think? Should you waste time for your boss? Is it rude to let junior employees take the slow security lane alone?


  1. Always take the priority lane, you are freeing up space in the regular lane which speeds up the regular lane for others.

  2. if you have TSA pre or global entry, or you have higher level airlines elite status, you offer to either boss (or client) or subordinate as much as you can accommodate – say request for them an upgrade based on your status, club access based on your privilege – but if no accommodation available, and travel is relatively routine, think you proceed independently and reconvene “on the other side.”

  3. I don’t think this is any different than taking the first class upgrade and leaving your co-workers in coach. When I traveled with colleagues we rarely sat next to each other on the plane. At some point you’re going to have to split up.

    I agree with the comment about freeing up space as well.

  4. I travel with my boss sometimes, and he has TSA-Pre. He always goes through without me, and we meet up at the end of the security line. I expect this will happen and don’t find it rude at all.

    Before TSA-Pre or when he’s just in a normal priority line, he’ll try to get me through with him. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

    I guess it’s a know-your-boss situation, but if I had TSA-Pre and he didn’t, I would go through without him and meet up on the other side.

  5. I always do what is fastest, regardless of traveling companion, business or personal. If they ask how I got through so fast, I recommend the Global Entry, etc. which was just “seen in action.” But as others point out, it is just as important not to clog the system.

  6. How about travelling with your family. Would you tell your spouse or child or parent to meet you later after security?

  7. Just did this today. Separated from a colleague. went through pre-check line, and we met up at the gate. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

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