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Two weeks on the road: Airport Security and NEXUS/TSA Pre-Check

It’s June 1, and I haven’t spent more than two weeks at home since the beginning of March. The longest span I spent away from home at once (and ever, actually), was the 15 days from April 25 to May 10, which had me trek from Winnipeg to San Francisco via Vancouver, BC, down to Santa Cruz, up to Palo Alto/Stanford, down the Pacific Coast Highway to Los Angeles, halfway across the country to Minneapolis-St. Paul, and then the other halfway across the country to Washington, DC.

I’ve written before about preparing to travel with asthma, but I’d never tackled traveling this long.


With preparation, travel with asthma can be smooth sailing

On this trip, I hit 6 different airports. One of those—Minneapolis-St. Paul or MSP—I happened to visit three times (which is fine, I love that airport. Actually, lots of people do: it won best airport in North America for its size category for the second year in a row). It also means I hit airport security five times. I’m a pro at security, but being a Trusted Traveler makes it easier.

Want step-by-step instructions on navigating security checkpoints? Check out my article “Tips for flying through airport security with asthma.”

TSA Pre-Check: Making security even smoother sailing

In Canada, we have NEXUS which simply allows a faster screening experience with trusted (and experienced) travelers. In the US, I qualify for TSA Pre-Check because of my NEXUS membership, which takes things up a level.

At security in Canada (or in the non-Pre-Check line, which I accidentally ended up in once when my TSA Pre didn’t show up on my boarding pass—thanks, Delta), it makes things quicker if liquids, gels, and aerosols are out of your bag. This doesn’t include meds, but let’s be honest, it makes things easier if it’s evident what’s in your bag, so I always take them out.

In the US, with TSA Pre-Check, you do not have to remove anything from your bag: not your laptop, not your liquids/gels/aerosols, not your meds. Your shoes can stay on your feet.

As a frequent traveler, even if I know things do not need to be removed from my bag, I try to be ready: anything I do or may need to take out of my bag, I keep at the top. If you, like me, are traveling with lots of stuff, make screening easier on you, the screeners, and your fellow travelers by keeping it easily accessible. (Oh, and yes, gummy candy with gooey centers WILL pose a gels problem ;).) Anything that won’t pose a question, like a hoodie or Paulie the Penguin, goes at the bottom of my bag, and I re-shuffle for weight distribution through security.

As a frequent flyer (whose flying has only got more frequent), NEXUS and TSA Pre-Check have become unquestionably worth the money and time spent being screened for me. If you don’t travel often, though, it’s likely not worthwhile to make this investment. When you’re at the point though when you know what you are doing and get regularly irritated with unprepared people ahead of you, that may be the time to consider making the investment.

In my next installment of Two Weeks on the Road, we’ll take a look at the more logistical elements of “having things in order”: technology, data security, and other things that—yes—do connect to travel with asthma!


This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.