I have no idea why I waited so long to purchase TSA PreCheck. I guess I figured it would be a hassle to apply for and complete – because it has the name TSA in it. Boy was I wrong. It was WAY easier than expected and it is worth every penny. If you know a frequent traveler who would benefit from this service, or if you are a traveler who’s considering purchasing it—do it. Trust me.
If you are unsure about what TSA PreCheck is, here’s a quick breakdown:
TSA PreCheck allows you to speed through TSA security without having to deal with all the hassles of removing your shoes, belts, outerwear, jewelry, or your liquids and laptops from your bags. It also saves you from being in line with the special folks who can’t seem to remove the items from their bag correctly EVEN THOUGH IT IS REALLY EASY.
Basically, it’s like a V.I.P upgrade that makes the pain of dealing with TSA a little more bearable. Unfortunately you can’t use PreCheck at every airport and with every airline, but according to the TSA.Gov website over 180 airports and 19 airlines currently participate. Click here for the list of airports and airlines that participate.
If you decide to sign up for PreCheck, here’s how the process goes:
- Go on the TSA website to determine if you are eligible. If you are, you can pre-enroll online
- When you are done with the online app, you can make an appointment at an application center in your city (This must be done within 120 days of completing the online application).
- Go to your appointment. This is the part that I thought would be a hassle, especially considering that the closest application center to me was at the lovely Las Vegas McCarran Airport. But I was pleasantly surprised by how simple it was.
I showed the interviewer my passport, gave her my debit card for the $85 payment, she asked a couple questions, she had me electronically sign documents, she took my fingerprints electronically, and she gave me a receipt. Easy Peasy. The entire process took exactly five minutes from start to finish. Yes, I did time it.
- After that, I just had to wait until I got approved. For me, it took four days, but it can take up to a month and a half to get approved.
The whole process was painless – and well worth the $85 dollars, especially because it lasts for five years. Be a good person and purchase it for the one you love — even if that person is you!