The best $199 you've ever spent on flying
If you fly more than once a year and hate US airport security or waiting in general, there is no better way to spend $199 than as follows:
For roughly the price of a nicer Fitbit, your airport experience will get 10x better.
Global Entry: This government program gives you two benefits in one: expedited customs entry back into the USA from an international trip, and most critically a TSA Pre✓ membership, which gives you access to an expedited security line at nearly every airport in the USA that moves much faster than standard security and is simply less of a hassle. You get to keep your shoes on, don't take out your laptop or liquids, and you walk through a metal detector. This on its own is already an insanely great perk that comes out to $20/year. If you live in a city, you probably spend more money on coffee every few days.
Clear: Unbelievably, it gets even better though. Less people know about this stacking benefit, but Clear also provides expedited security that uses your fingerprint or iris scan (no photo ID required) and then jumps you to the front of the regular security line; but if you also have Pre✓, they jump you to the front of the Pre✓ line instead. You may think this sounds unnecessary, but EWR's Pre✓ lines are the stuff of nightmares.
TSA Pre✓ and Clear is the fastest and most convenient way to get through TSA security period - even first class fliers paying $$$$ ticket fares can't keep up. Now, sit back and relax.
If you have a premium credit card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or AmEx Platinum, they automatically credit you back the $100 membership fee every 5 years, so Global Entry is completely free. ↩︎
Clear normally costs $179/year, but all Delta members (free to signup) get a discounted $99/year rate at minimum. And if you're Diamond Medallion status, Clear is free. ↩︎