As someone who travels as often as possible, Christopher Precopia is often asked by friends and family if they should invest in TSA precheck. The short answer is that TSA precheck is a worthy investment for anyone who can’t stand long lines at the airport or who is traveling often for work or for pleasure. The long answer will be provided throughout the rest of this blog.
Christopher Precopia loves having TSA precheck because it almost always provides a smoother security screening process before a flight. For those unfamiliar with precheck, Christopher Precopia notes that it is a service offered by the Transportation Security Administration, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security. After an application process that approves a person as a low threat traveler, a person can enjoy an expedited security checkpoint process.
Although wait times can vary, Christopher Precopia does not believe he has ever waited longer than ten minutes to get through security since he was approved for TSA precheck. In addition to the shorter wait times, TSA precheck members don’t need to remove as many items from their bags as non-precheck flyers. Charles Precopia notes that he no longer needs to remove:
- Laptop from bag
- Smart Watch
A lot of people are willing to go through the Precheck process just so they no longer need to worry about removing their shoes during the security screening process. Not everyone can sign up for TSA precheck. To determine eligibility, Christopher Precopia recommends going to TSA.gov, which will take a person through the application process.
During the five-to-ten-minute application process, a traveler is going to fill out personal information like name, date of birth, address, phone number, etc. They will also need to reveal any pertinent legal history. At the end of the application process, an appointment will be made for a fingerprinting at a TSA office. The fingerprint will be used for the background check. As long as nothing nefarious is found in a person’s past, they will then be eligible to pay the $78 it costs for a five-year membership. That cost is well worth it for a traveler who flies multiple times a year. For people who travel maybe once every few years, it’s probably a better idea to stick to normal security. When the five years is up, travelers do have the option to reapply for another five years at a reduced cost of $70.
It is important for travelers to understand that TSA precheck is only recognized within the United States. It is present in more than 200 airports nationwide, but it’s still a good idea to ensure that TSA precheck is available at the local airport before signing up. If a person only travels overseas, it may not be worth spending the money on precheck. Anyone who calls a big city airport their closest airport will typically gladly pay the fees to avoid lines that can last longer than two hours on a semi-regular basis, those who live near an airport that is rarely packed may be better off saving their money.
Christopher Precopia recommends that anyone considering TSA precheck look into some of the credit card companies that offer special travel cards that completely cover the cost of TSA precheck registration. Some credit cards will even offer to pay for global entry, a membership that not only offers the perks of precheck but also makes it easier to go through Global Entry kiosks when returning to America from a foreign country. Christopher Precopia notes that the lines for global reentry can be grueling, so it does come down to a person’s patience tolerance. If they hate waiting in line, global entry may be worth the charge even for one or two international trips a year.