Imagine a world where long security lines, shoe removal, and unpacking your laptop at the airport become distant memories. That world exists, and it’s called TSA PreCheck, an expedited security program. The Department of Homeland Security started this service under the Trusted Traveler program in 2013.
Here’s how it works. As a TSA PreCheck member, you’ll have access to a specified security line where you’ll receive expedited screening at domestic and some international airports. Currently 200 airports worldwide offer the TSA PreCheck privileges.
You do not need to remove shoes, belt, jacket, laptop, or the 3-1-1 bag from your carry-on. Just place your carry-on atop the x-ray machine conveyor belt. Walk through the scanner, retrieve your bag and head to the gate.
Applying for TSA PreCheck is simple. Fill out an online form and schedule an in-person appointment at any of the 500+ convenient enrollment centers. These are usually located at airports. Some Staples office supply stores offer the service, too.
During your appointment, you’ll undergo a brief interview and provide your fingerprints. Once approved, which usually takes three to five days, you’ll receive a Known Traveler Number (KTN) to use when booking flights. This is a unique identification number assigned to you. When booking a flight, enter the KTN into your reservation. It will show up on your boarding pass. The airline is notified and you’re allowed access the special security line.
The price for TSA PreCheck is $85 and is valid for five years.
It’s worth every penny, streamlining the airport security process. You may renew your membership online up to six months before the expiration date.
If you’ve changed your name since enrollment, you must contact TSA Help Center at 855-DHS-UES1 (855-347-8371) to update your name before renewing.
I’ve had my TSA PreCheck for several years. It saves me time and stress not having to wait in the standard security line.