TSA PreCheck: The Ultimate Travel Tool

TSA PreCheck: The Ultimate Travel Tool

I’ve mentioned TSA PreCheck a few times, but today I want to dive into how useful it is and why everyone should sign up.

What is TSA PreCheck?

In the summer of 2013 the TSA announced the TSA PreCheck program would open up to everyone. The program used to be tied to Airlines Frequent Flyers. If you were TSA Pre with United, the benefit didn’t necessarily carryover to American, etc. This was incredibly frustrating for frequent flyers that needed to fly on a different airline for whatever reason. Follow the 2013 announcement, travelers would be assigned a known traveler number (KTN) which would be added to 13 (more added recently) airlines frequent flyer accounts. TSA PreCheck allows known passengers access to expedited security checkpoints at domestic airports. Known travelers are not required to remove anything from their bags (liquids, laptops, etc.) and can leave belts, shoes, and light jackets on when clearing security.

How To Apply For TSA PreCheck?

Applying for TSA PreCheck is incredibly simple and overall an easy process. First, visit the TSA website. From this page you can locate an application center. There are several application centers in big cities. In smaller cities, the application center is typically located at the airport. The simplest way to apply is to pre-apply online by filling out the Pre-Enroll form. Once the form is completed, you can select an application center and schedule your appointment.

How Long Does An Appointment Take?

The appointment takes less than 10 minutes! Phew!

That’s right, you walk in, take a few fingerprints, and pay. That’s it! I couldn’t believe how easy the whole process was. It took about a week for me to get my KTN, but some people report getting a KTN the next day.

What Do I Do With My Known Traveler Number (KTN)?

Once you receive your KTN you must add it to your various frequent flyer accounts. If you forget to add it to the account, you will be very disappointed when your boarding pass does not have the TSA PreCheck stamp on it. Just because you have a KTN doesn’t mean that you get PreCheck at the airport. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen people arguing with TSA agents that they are PreCheck, but it is not on their boarding pass.

When you get TSA PreCheck, you have access to the fast lane security lines. Security typically takes less than 5 minutes at any airport. The shorter lines are great, but not having to remove anything from your baggage or person is even better. With TSA PreCheck, clearing security is no longer painful. Plus, you don’t have to go through the body scanner! After reading this article, I’m not sure I ever want to again.

How Long Is TSA PreCheck Valid?

TSA PreCheck lasts for 5-years! I recently asked about the re-application process and the TSA had no idea what was going to happen because the program isn’t 5 years old yet. For just $89 you get 5-years of quick and easy security. Some credit cards will even reimburse the TSA PreCheck fee!

Final Thoughts

I love TSA PreCheck, I signed up for the short lines, but not having to strip down and empty my laptop bag every time I fly has kept me coming back. I highly recommend everyone sign up!