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If you travel at least 4 times a year – yes, I believe TSA Precheck is worth it.
What is TSA Precheck?
TSA Precheck is a status that is added to your boarding ticket for an airplane. This means that you can go through an expedited line at the airport. You don’t have to take off your shoes or take your liquids out of your bag. To get TSA Precheck, you must go through a quick background check through an in-person appointment. The appointment will involve a fingerprint scan, and a few easy questions. Once you complete the background check, you will get a Known Traveler Number that you will add to your plane tickets. Before you can get into the TSA Precheck line, a security officer will check your boarding pass for the TSA Precheck label.
How is this different from Global Entry?
Global Entry is a benefit that will allow you faster access back into the United States after you have been traveling internationally. TSA Precheck, on the other hand, gets you through the security lines in the United States faster. Global Entry costs $100 for five years, and TSA Precheck costs $85 for five years. The cool thing is, Global Entry comes with TSA Precheck benefits. If you have access to getting Global Entry, I would recommend going that route as you get more benefits from it. I personally only have TSA Precheck because there was not a Global Entry interview office near me, but if you have the option I would recommend taking advantage of it.
But isn’t the TSA Precheck line sometimes longer than the security line?
Often, I see posts throughout social media joking about how the TSA Precheck line is the longer security to go through. This is actually frequent in larger airports when business professionals are traveling on Mondays and Thursdays. Even when the TSA Precheck line is longer, I find that the line is constantly moving and you aren’t standing in place for too long. You also still have the flexibility of going through the regular security line if you would like. I’d rather have the option to choose!
Get your TSA Pre-Check fee covered
Check to see if your credit card will cover TSA Precheck or Global Entry refunds. This primarily occurs with credit cards that have a high annual fee, but it is always a good idea to check by searching for your credit card’s benefits online.
So is TSA Precheck really worth it?
When trying to decide if you should get TSA Precheck, you should consider your travel schedule. If you travel by plane less than 4 times a year, or you commute from a smaller airport that does not usually have long security lines, it may not be necessary to get TSA Precheck.
When you start to travel frequently enough, you will find yourself in larger cities where using TSA Precheck on your return trip would be ideal. If your coworkers travel a lot, it is likely that they have TSA Precheck as well. If most of your colleagues are traveling through the faster security line, then TSA Precheck may be a worthwhile investment to make your business trips smoother.
After you start to spend enough time in airports, you will look for absolutely anything that you can do to make your travel routine seamless and easier. Not having to remove your laptop, shoes, and liquids is a luxury that you will definitely miss once the opportunity is gone.
The majority of the time, I would say that TSA Precheck is a good idea. It is better to have it and have a choice on which line you want to go through, rather than having to always go the longer route!
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