Avoid long security lines by enrolling in TSA Precheck

TSA Precheck: Everything Travelers Need to Know

Nothing slows a business traveler down at the airport as much as waiting for security. Even the most prepared traveler who shows up with shoes, jacket, and laptop removed can’t escape the inevitable wait for other passengers who were less prepared. Luckily, over 150 airports and 12 airlines have adopted TSA precheck for those who are eligible. For many, it isn’t always clear what TSA precheck is and even if it is clear, whether or not it’s worth it. Here are answers to frequently asked questions regarding TSA precheck and a couple tips to help business travelers make sure they are picking the best expedited security program for them.

What is TSA Precheck?

TSA Precheck is the expedited security process offered by certain airports and airlines. With TSA Precheck, travelers have access to the separate TSA Precheck line. Furthermore, they do not have to remove: shoes, laptops, 3-1-1 liquids, belts, or light jackets. No more shuffling along with laptop, shoes, jacket, belt, and bag in hand.

Where is TSA Precheck offered?

TSA Precheck is offered at over 150 airports in the United States. Before applying, business travelers should make sure their frequently used airports are one of the participants by checking the TSA map. They should also check to make sure their preferred airline is one of the 12 offering TSA precheck (Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, OneJet, Southwest Airlines, Sun Country, United Airlines, Virgin America, WestJet).

Does TSA Precheck transfer to travel companions?

Children (family members under 12) are permitted to go through the expedited security lane. Anyone over 13 must have their own TSA Precheck number, or go through the regular security lane.

Who is eligible for TSA Precheck?

US Citizens, US nationals, and lawful permanent residents are all eligible to TSA Precheck. Passengers part of the Global Entry, SENTRI, and NEXUS programs are also automatically qualified for TSA Precheck and do not need to go through the application process.

How do I get approved for TSA Precheck?

As we already mentioned, people enrolled in Global Entry, SENTRI, and NEXUS program are already part of the TSA Precheck program and do not need to apply again.

The application process occurs in three steps:

  1. Online Application: this is an option 9 step “application”. This simply collects basic background information including height, weight, age, address, citizenship, and criminal history. The last two steps are to set up an appointment at a specified location.
  2. Schedule an Appointment: If step 1 was skipped, step 2 must be completed.
  3. Show up to the appointment. Business travelers should make sure to bring the required documentation specified in step 1 or 2 and the $85 fee.

How long does the TSA Precheck Approval Process Take?

The online application took about 3-5 minutes and the interview itself takes about 15-20 minutes. So in total, about 20-25 minutes.

How much does TSA Precheck Cost?

$85 for 5 years.

Where does the TSA Known Traveler Number go?

Most airlines have a place within a user’s profile to add their Known Traveler Number (KTN). Once it is added there, it will be applied to all future bookings with that airline. It is important to note that adding KTNs to a frequent flyer profile does not automatically apply it to previously made bookings. To add KTNs to existing reservations, call the air carrier directly.

For travelers who aren’t loyal to any specific brand, or simply can’t remember their login, there is normally a box during the booking process where a KTN can be added prior to checking out.

Is TSA Precheck Worth It?

The TSA Precheck privileges are definitely worth it, and the GBTA Business Traveler Sentiment Index’s numbers agree. 66% of business travelers who had enrolled in the TSA Precheck program were satisfied with airport security. This is significantly greater than business travelers not enrolled in the program, 47% of which reported satisfaction with airport security.

However, the Global Entry program is significantly better. Not only does it come with TSA Precheck, but it also allows international travelers to skip long customs lines, which can often be worse than security lines. Furthermore, Global Entry only costs an additional $15 ($100 in total).

Long story short, business travelers can save themselves time and headaches by enrolling in either the TSA Precheck program or Global Entry. Overall, Global Entry is a better program; but, for business travelers staying strictly within the United States, TSA Precheck will be sufficient.

6 thoughts on “TSA Precheck: Everything Travelers Need to Know”

  1. Do you know what would disqualify a person from TSA precheck? Are criminal history and citizenship status the only factors (i.e., if you’re a citizen with no criminal history, you’re good to go)?

    And thanks! The article was pretty helpful! I don’t currently travel very much for business, but I’m pretty sure that will change in the upcoming months, so I wanted to look into TSA precheck now!

    1. Good questions! There are a couple things that might get a traveler disqualified from TSA Precheck. Here are a couple, the full list can be found at https://www.tsa.gov/disqualifying-offenses-factors

      Being convicted or pleading not guilty to any of the following crimes is permanent disqualification: espionage, treason, murder, terrorism, and threatening/lying about explosive devices.

      The next crimes will cause temporary disqualification: unlawful dealings with firearms, money laundering, bribery, smuggling, robbery.

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