TSA Pre✓™ is a new system that is offered to people who travel frequently. It requires you to go through a risk assessment before being granted this status.
U.S. Citizens who are members of Customs and Border Protection Trusted Traveler programs, such as Global Entry, NEXUS, and SENTRI programs and eligible frequent travelers.
TSA PreCheck is being rolled out across the nation
If/when TSA determines that you are eligible for “expedited screening”, you will have information embedded in the barcode of your boarding pass. TSA will read the barcode at designated checkpoints and you may be referred to the expedited screening lane where you might be not have to remove the following items:
- 3-1-1 compliant bag from carry-on
- Laptop from bag
- Light outerwear/jacket
Passengers 12 and under will be allowed through the TSA PreCheck lanes with an eligible traveler.
So why should I take the time to sign up?
If you travel a lot and your time is valuable (even if it only means a few extra minutes in the lounge or at the gate), then it is worth your while to join this program. The TSA wants to expedite the screening process where it can. We can only hope that they will continue to make improvements in the program to make it better and more efficient. It is currently hit-or-miss when it comes to being selected for the TSA PreCheck lane. You shouldn’t expect that you will always avoid the longer screening lines, so be sure to have enough time just in case.
How will I save time by using TSA PreCheck?
TSA PreCheck is not a guarantee that you will go through screening without having to remove shoes, belt, etc. In order to keep the random screening process intact, sometimes you will be required to submit to the same scrutiny as the regular security lines. The random inspections are designed to keep travelers on their toes, so no one thinks they will not be checked at any time. I’m in favor of this, and you should be, too. It’s a step in the right direction and should be refined in time to better serve the needs of the public.
How do I join the TSA PreCheck program?
Participating airlines will usually invite their frequent flyers, according to the criteria established by the TSA. If you haven’t received an invitation from any of the airlines you frequently travel on, you can still apply for one of the eligible programs by going to the Global Entry website. Many people are already eligible to participate. If you are with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Global Entry, SENTRI or NEXUS programs, then you are eligible and you can apply.
I haven’t come across anything to indicate when more people will be allowed to opt-in to the program.
Where is TSA PreCheck available?
Those persons who are frequent travelers and fly on Delta, United, Alaska Airlines, American and US Airways are possible program participants. The airlines will invite some of these travelers to opt-in to the program. There are more airports being added to the program, but it takes time to implement at some airports because of the extra space needed. Go to this link to see a list of participating airports. You can also get some of your questions answered at this TSA site.
For more information on how you can apply, plus get more information on the program, you can go to this TSA website.
While not a perfect program by any means, it is a step in the right direction. I would recommend that travelers who believe they qualify, apply for acceptance into the program and save yourself some time and energy whenever and wherever you can. A few more minutes to check your email or do a little work before departure is always handy to have.
I am really interested to hear from people who have been admitted to TSA PreCheck. Please leave a comment and tell me what your experience has been like.