Is it worth it to get TSA Pre✓ ?

We airline travelers have become grudgingly accustomed to removing shoes and jackets, having our bodies scanned and letting strangers probe through our luggage. It’s easy to hate the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and those sometimes snotty screeners, but before you get your nickers in a bunch, remember TSA screeners are doing the best they can under restricted circumstances. Budget cuts have reduced the number of TSA agents across the country by 5,600 in the last four years. More people are traveling. Terrorism is still a very real possibility. Budget cuts for TSA screeners?  – What are they thinking?  

TSATSA Pre✓ was instituted in an attempt to ease security line congestion and to date, some 12 million travelers have signed up.  Pre-checkies boarding pass is stamped TSA Approved and they are directed to the speedy line (no strollers! no old folks! no first time travelers!). Pre-checkies do not have to remove their shoes, jackets or belts, and can leave their laptops and 3-1-1 compliant liquids in their tote bag.

Sounds cool, but is it worth it? You decide:

  1. The application process is a little laborious and involves an online application and a visit to your local Pre✓ It might be more than the casual traveler wants to deal with. Go to https://www.tsa.gov/tsa-precheck/apply for more details and to apply online.
  2. Pre✓ costs $38, so if you are not a frequent traveler, it might not be worth the cost.
  3. Not all airports participate. Go to https://www.tsa.gov/tsa-precheck/map to which ones do.
  4. At this time, the following airlines participate in Pre✓: Aeromexico, Air Canada, Alaska, Allegiant , American, Cape Air, Delta, Etihad, Jet Blue, Seaborne, Sun Country, United, Virgin America and WestJet. Some airports have centralized screening areas so it doesn’t matter who you’re flying, but others require you to pass through the security screening area that matches your flight.

BONUS INFO: Terrible TSA experience? Complain on #iHatetheWait, a Twitter account set up by Airlines for America, an airline rating group that loves to hear your gripe.

Have you signed up for Pre✓? How’s it going for you?

 

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