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Premier Access at IAD for International Flight?

Premier Access at IAD for International Flight?

Old May 30, 14, 1:23 pm
  #1  
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Question Premier Access at IAD for International Flight?

I have an international flight to Europe this summer (of course, the flight departs during peak hours in the late afternoon) from IAD. I have never flown out of IAD before. I'll be checking in, clearing security, etc at IAD as I am departing from there, and not connecting there.

Considering that my airport arrival will be during peak hours, would purchasing the Premier Access cut down on a bunch of the hassle? (As in, avoiding the long baggage drop lines, and insane security lines I hear are rampant at IAD. (I normally do not flight United, and normally start at small feeder airports, that have no more than a 5 minute wait for anything.)

I see various commentary about this program, and nothing much touching on IAD. Thanks for your time and comments in advance.
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Old May 30, 14, 1:31 pm
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Premier access won't do a thing for security. If you're not Pre-check, then you'll be in the lines with the masses. It might save you 5-10 minutes at check-in.

Personally, I don't think Premier Access is worth a thing.
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Old May 30, 14, 1:38 pm
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Can't comment on IAD specifically, but during peak hours, everyone and their mom will also be on the premier line, so the benefit is certainly diminished. For example, when you're waiting on line to board, lane 1 is for the ultra premier people, and lane 2 is for all the normal premier people. I have no stats to back this up, but in my experience, 30-40% of the flight will be in lane 2, which is a pretty high number of elites that you will still have to fight through.

Basically, if you can mentally prepare yourself to still wait on a slightly shorter line throughout, and if they are not charging all that much, I would get it. Otherwise I would just show up to the airport an extra 45 mins early and not worry about purchasing premier access. Instead maybe consider buying access to the United lounge (free wifi and light snacks), which could be useful while overseas.
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Old May 30, 14, 1:48 pm
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I don't think Premier Access is worth it at all at Dulles. As mentioned won't help at all for security, only for checking your bag. There is a bag drop line I think if you already checked in online but don't have experience with it. If you have the extra time just get there early, once clearing security walk to terminal B for the better food options, then train to C or D for your departure...
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Old May 30, 14, 1:57 pm
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To clarify, there is in fact a premier access line for security, it just doesn't save you much time. I would put the money towards applying for Global Entry - you'll save a lot more time and you'll have pre-check for 5 years.
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Old May 30, 14, 1:59 pm
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When the non-PA lines back up, TSA allocates more lanes to that cohort. Premier access used to mean a bit. With Pre-Check, it's useless because pretty much all HVC's have the latter.
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Old May 30, 14, 3:04 pm
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Get it, check-in for economy at around 4pm in IAD is damn zoo. United schedules too many flights leaving in same time, so line for check-in goes as far as where you suppose to go downstairs for TSA screening
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Old May 30, 14, 3:16 pm
  #8  
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Very odd that some people are saying that Premier Access makes no difference in security. Obviously these people have never been through IAD in the afternoon. There is an *immense* difference in the time it takes to get through security with Premier Access vs. not, often as much as 30-40min. Of course, having PreCheck would result in accessing a much shorter queue again, but given the huge numbers of international flights that leave in the evening (mostly large widebody aircraft with huge economy cabins, and many on non-US airlines where elite status is much harder to get) there are many, many more people in the regular queue.

I think some people take the "everyone gets Premier Access" hyperbole a bit too literally
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Old May 30, 14, 3:22 pm
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Originally Posted by star_world View Post
Very odd that some people are saying that Premier Access makes no difference in security. Obviously these people have never been through IAD in the afternoon. There is an *immense* difference in the time it takes to get through security with Premier Access vs. not, often as much as 30-40min. Of course, having PreCheck would result in accessing a much shorter queue again, but given the huge numbers of international flights that leave in the evening (mostly large widebody aircraft with huge economy cabins, and many on non-US airlines where elite status is much harder to get) there are many, many more people in the regular queue.

I think some people take the "everyone gets Premier Access" hyperbole a bit too literally
The problem is the line backs up way before the split into PA/regular - all the way onto the upper floor. So it saves you time, just not as much as it could if they managed the line differently.
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Old May 30, 14, 6:35 pm
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Originally Posted by nonstarter View Post
To clarify, there is in fact a premier access line for security, it just doesn't save you much time. I would put the money towards applying for Global Entry - you'll save a lot more time and you'll have pre-check for 5 years.
^^ this, x1000. Premier Access at IAD is next to useless between 2-5pm, which when the OP will likely be be using it for an international flight. PreCheck OTOH is a lifesaver at IAD.

Originally Posted by star_world View Post
Very odd that some people are saying that Premier Access makes no difference in security. Obviously these people have never been through IAD in the afternoon. There is an *immense* difference in the time it takes to get through security with Premier Access vs. not, often as much as 30-40min.
It really doesn't. Before PreCheck, I had all but abandoned Premier Access, because the problem at IAD is that there are no separate screening lines - all PA gives you is slightly quicker - sometimes - access to the general screening lines, which are a CF between 2-5pm at IAD. Contrast that with SFO which has a totally separate PA setup.
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