TSA PreCheck: Is It Worth Getting? What Are Some Benefits Of Getting It?
Updated As of read 3 min
How many times were you so close in missing your flight? We all know that it is best to get to the airport a couple of hours before the scheduled flight departure. However, we have no control over the journey from home to the airport, and it can sometimes become a challenge.
So, if you can eliminate standing in line to get check by security at the airport, wouldn’t you?
Well, this is where TSA PreCheck comes into play. It will take away the time you spend standing in line to go through security. If this is something you are considering, here are some tips that will help you decide whether the TSA PreCheck is for you.
What is the TSA PreCheck?
The TSA Precheck is a program that started in October 2011. It is run by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The reason for the PreCheck program is to expedite the security checkpoint process for low-risk travelers.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection administer four other similar programs. These programs are used for personal and business travelers who enter or leave the U.S. The programs include Global Entry, SENTRI, NEXUS, and FAST. Unlike the other four, FAST is used for commercial trucking crossing borders.
How Does TSA PreCheck Works?
To use the TSA Precheck program, you must complete an application and the in-person interview at one of the locations. Once you receive approval, you will get a 5-year membership. After five years, you must renew your membership.
As a member, you will get a Known Traveler Number. The number will give you access to the TSA PreCheck security lanes. Add the number to your reservation when you purchase your ticket online or notify your carrier. Your boarding pass will then have the “TSA PreCheck” on it. Without it, you will not have access to the PreCheck security lanes.
Children 12 and under can accompany their parents in the PreCheck lanes. Older than 12 will require their Known Travel Number.
If the airline you will travel with is not a member of the TSA PreCheck program, you cannot use the PreCheck security line. Verify with your carrier if it is in the program before going to the airport.
How Do You Know If You Qualify To Become A Member Of The TSA PreCheck Program?
The TSA PreCheck program is for any U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents who wish to apply. However, TSA has some restrictions that will disqualify you from becoming a member.
If you commit any transportation violations or provide false information on your application, it can disqualify you from gaining membership.
Also, several criminal offenses will disqualify you as well. Look at the link for a list of offenses that will disqualify an applicant.
TSA PreCheck Benefits Are Better Than Standard Screening
Going through the standard screening will take time. You must remove your shoe, belt, jacket, and any electronic devices from your bag. After going through the security checkpoint, you must not gather your possessions and put them on again.
The process alone will take time you may not have if you must board the flight in minutes. All this you will avoid in a PreCheck lane.
A PreCheck lane has its perks. You don’t need to remove your shoe, belt, or any electronics. You can keep your jacket on as you walk throw. However, on some occasions, you may be randomly get selected for extra screening. Even if it was the case, the process is still quicker than the standard screening.
How Much Will You Pay For TSA PreCheck Membership?
The benefits of the program far outweigh the cost. Even so, the cost of membership is $85, and you will have it for five years. However, the price for the application is none refundable. So, if your application gets rejected, you will not get your money back.
You can use any major credit card to pay for the application. Some cards also offer this as a perk to their customers. Check with your credit card to see if you have it available to you.
Applying For TSA PreCheck Membership
You must start the application process online. Visit the TSA website and provide all the information the application requires. Once you complete the application and submit it, you can schedule an appointment at the nearest enrollment center.
At the appointment, you must provide identification, proof of citizenship, and your immigration document if applicable. You must also answer some questions and fingerprint.
The entire process usually takes 2-3 weeks to get a response. During that time, TSA conducts a background check. Upon approval, you will receive your Known Travel Number to start using the TSA PreCheck lanes.
Airlines And Airports That Participate With The TSA PreCheck Program
Plenty of airlines participate in the program. However, there are still many more who are not participating yet. TSA continues to work with and continue to add airlines which are currently not in the program.
Currently, there are over 200 airports that participate in the TSA PreCheck program. You can click on this link to determine the airlines and airports that participate in the program.