I’m all about saving time, and hassle while traveling. The sooner I can get to the airport lounge and relax and enjoy a drink prior to boarding, the better! I highly recommend considering applying for TSA pre-check. Once you use it, you will not want to go back to the regular security line process. Here’s what you need to know about TSA Precheck, and hopefully this allows you to make an informed decision:
Keep your shoes on
TSA Precheck allows low-risk travelers to pass through the screening process easily without taking much time and having to remove shoes, jackets, laptops from bags, belts and hand-carry beverages. The program allows US citizens, Lawful Permanent Citizens and other low-risk citizens or travelers without criminal records to travel without an extensive screening process. Basically, you can’t have a criminal record. If you are registered with Customs and Border Protection Trusted Traveler Program, TSA Precheck also provides you access to Global Entry, NEXUS and SENTRI. Sweet!
Reward Credit Card Members get reduced rates
Do you own a credit card with travel perks? If you have one on the following list, you may get a credit for the $85 application and enrollment fee. If you own an Amex Platinum (the card I travel with) members are provided with an application fee credit for $85 statement credit for TSA Precheck and $100 credit for Global Entry every 4 years. For reimbursements, you need to charge the application fee to your card.
Lines, lines, say goodbye to lines
My friends make jokes that I hate lines. I get uber anxiety in lines. As far as the airport screening process is concerned; we all know how going through security processes takes a considerable chunk of time, and getting to the gate faster is a huge convenience. TSA Precheck attempts to reduce the amount of travel time it takes prior to boarding the plane, sparing you from waiting in long queue lines, and most of the times it’s pretty sufficient! TSA Precheck is widely available at airports, and I’ve found that some airports have a better TSA set-up than others. For example, LAX, SNA and PHX have a much more organized TSA Precheck system than my experience at SeaTac airport in Seattle.
Money well spent
TSA Precheck is widely available in 200 airports around the US, and you’ll also be able to find Precheck at smaller sized airports as well. I found that after reading the airport availability list, the $85 fee had a lot of value built in. So don’t worry if you live in smaller town, and think TSA Precheck is not for you, it may be worth your time to check out the Precheck airport map.
To sign up for TSA, simply go to the Precheck Website, register online and schedule an appointment for your interview at the nearest application center. Keep your passport, immigration documents, driver’s license and birth certificate for the application procedure. You’ll receive a reply within two weeks. If you are clean or without any criminal record, you’ll receive the Known Traveler Number, which needs to be kept while you travel.
Don’t assume your kids will get it
If your kids are 12 and under, they are good to go with you to pre-check if you have the indicator on your boarding pass. If your child is 13 and up, they must go through standard line, or apply for the best program for your family. Check out the TSA website page to determine the best program for your family.
Military and DOD numbers automatically eligible
A great perk for military members of the U.S. Armed Forces and DoD federal civilians is the TSA Precheck perk under the Trusted Traveler Group. This can be used for personal travel, and active duty does not even need to be in uniform. If you are a DOD federal civilian you must register under milconnect website. If you are a service member, you do not need to apply this way. Just enter your DOD number when making your flight reservation online. At this time spouses do not qualify for the program and must go through the regular application process.
Good luck on your TSA Precheck experience. Leave me comments here if you have questions or concerns!