Avoid Long Airport Lines
If you don’t like waiting in long airport lines (and who does), consider applying for membership in the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) PreCheck program. This is an expedited security-screening program connecting travelers departing from airports within the United States with smarter security and a better air travel experience.
The TSA PreCheck program is available when you depart from a U.S. airport to a foreign country, and for domestic, connecting flights after you return to the United States. It is currently available at 200 airports, with 37 participating airlines nationwide. If you travel to foreign countries even once a year, the Transportation Security Administration suggests enrolling in Global Entry instead of TSA Pre-Check. With Global Entry, you will receive expedited customs processing when entering the United States, plus you will receive TSA Pre-Check when flying from U.S. airports.
Members of the Pre-Check program can take advantage of dedicated screening lanes at airports, plus you can keep shoes and light jackets on, and toiletries and laptops stay in bags, so there’s no fumbling around as you approach the conveyor belt.
The TSA PreCheck application program is open to U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals and lawful permanent residents. Passengers considered low-risk who qualify for the program are given a known traveler number “KTN” to use when making flight reservations. Participating airlines will print an indicator on your boarding pass. When you arrive at the airport, look for signs for the lanes.
The cost of program membership is $85 and it’s good for five years. Kids 12 and under can get PreCheck screening for free as long as they travel with a member parent or guardian. Older kids must enroll on their own. For solo travelers who fly just once a year, the cost breaks down to a mere $17 a year; families with young children benefit even more. White it’s true some passengers are still being selected for random PreCheck screening – for free – these perks are rare and can’t be counted on.
HOW TO APPLY:
Online enrollment is easy at tsa.gov/tsa-precheck and takes less than five minutes, or you can complete the entire process in person at an application center. Schedule an appointment online or by calling (855) 347-8371 weekdays, 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments take priority.
VISIT AN APPLICATION CENTER TO:
- Provide required documentation and be fingerprinted. Bring your current U.S. passport or a driver’s license and birth certificate.
- Pay a non-refundable $85 fee valid for five years with a credit card, money order, company check or certified/cashier’s check.
- You can check your status online at any time.