How I Applied for TSA Precheck and Breezed Through Airport Security

How I Applied for TSA Precheck and Breezed Through Airport Security

Are you aware of TSA Precheck? Are you enrolled?

If not, consider this: according to the TSA website, 97% of people that were signed up for TSA Precheck (often stylized as “TSA Pre✓”) experienced a wait time of less than five minutes when going through security.

I found it made my overall airport experience WAY more tolerable.

To enroll, you’ll want to plan ahead and make sure to apply a couple months or so in advance of your flight. Once approved, your enrollment is good for future domestic air travel in the U.S. for five years.

It’s worth noting that not all airlines participate, though many do. Here’s a the list of 42 participating airlines.

At the Airport

When I got checked in and approached the security screening, I found a separate and much shorter line for those enrolled in TSA Precheck. Additionally, you won’t need to remove shoes, laptops, 3-1-1 liquids, belts, or light jackets!

The TSA Precheck is for domestic flights in the U.S. only. If you’re a frequent international traveler, it makes more sense to sign up for a program called Global Entry – it’s only $15 more than TSA Precheck and covers international travel as well. The Global Entry program is for U.S. citizens or permanent residents and citizens of India, Columbia, the UK, Germany, Panama, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, and Mexico.

Sounds great, right? So what does the signup process look like, and how much does it cost?

Registering for TSA precheck at the airport

Signing Up

Here are the steps I followed to signup:

  1. I went to the TSA website to start the application process, paid $85, and set up an interview at a location near me.
  2. When my interview date arrived, I went to the scheduled appointment for a brief interview and was fingerprinted.
  3. I waited a few weeks and received my Known Traveler Number (KTN) for TSA Precheck in the mail.
  4. With my KTN in hand, I then entered the number into my flight reservation number with Southwest Airlines that I had already booked.

You’ll want to make sure to enter your KTN number as part of any future domestic airline reservations.

It was great – I got to the airport and saw a special (much shorter) line for TSA Precheck-enrolled passengers. If I recall correctly, I don’t think there was much of a line at all, and I happily cruised through!

If you’re not signed up and would like to be enrolled, you should do so a couple of months before your flight to allow for the interview and time it takes to get your number in the mail.

Wishing you speedy travels!

Randall is the founder of Keokee Travel Gear. When not trying to conquer his anxiety surrounding social media, he dreams of traveling to and photographing exotic places around the world. Oh, and he dreams of playing golf at Pebble Beach.

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