Last summer I signed up for TSA PreCheck (TSA Pre✓®), and it changed the way I travel.
Simply put: $85 was well worth the investment. But there are changes ahead for this program, and if you had any interest in applying, February might be the month to do so.
TSA PreCheck Benefits
TSA PreCheck offers fliers the opportunity to go through a background check, pay a fee, and become a number in the system. You’ll be eligible to use the PreCheck lanes for five years.
This system is glorious.
With a pre-check number, you travel through a different (usually shorter) line at security. You are allowed those pre-9/11 luxuries such as wearing your shoes and leaving your laptop in your bag. TSA PreCheck website says 98% of fliers going through this line waited 5 minutes or less.
Sure, I’d been given the gift of PreCheck a few times from the random selection process of my airlines. And it was akin to winning the lottery. But now I had the winning ticket every time I planned my trip to the airport. Huzzah!
TSA PreCheck Costs
It’s not a lot in the grand scheme of things.
$85 will get your PreCheck application forwarded for consideration.
Credit card companies with travel options may also offer assistance through their points programs. Be sure to contact your travel card for details.
TSA PreCheck Changes
If you haven’t signed up for the TSA PreCheck program yet, you may want to go ahead and start the process.
There are reports that the random selection and frequent flier programs that grant you that little TSA PreCheck mark on your boarding pass is being phased out. TSA announced rolling back the airline lead frequent flier program and rumor says it will be gone by the end of the month.
With a couple of million people enrolled in the paid program, the lines are getting longer, and the complimentary program will end.
If you do not have Global Entry or PreCheck, you may want to take steps to secure entry to these program before a possible rush to apply occurs.
TSA PreCheck VS Global Entry
Global Entry is a second program for frequent travelers. It provides quicker entry to the United States for pre-approved low-risk travelers. It offers both domestic PreCheck perks as well as expedited entry from outside the US.
The difference in costs is $15 ($100 total fee), so even if you don’t plan to travel overseas (for now), it still might be worth the investment just in case.
I wish I had done so now that I have runDisney’s Disneyland Paris Half Marathon on my radar!
Here’s a great article from the TravelingMoms about the difference between the two programs.
If you’ve been able to use the free program before and like moving quickly through the security lines, the time is right now to get your TSA PreCheck or Global Entry approval.
You may not have that gift for much longer!