TSA PreCheck – Is it Worth It?

by Tiffany Paul

At Sleeper Scarf we’re always looking for ways to make traveling easier and more enjoyable. That’s why the new TSA PreCheck caught our attention. What started as a frequent flyer perk available in a small handful of airports, has now been made available to low risk travelers at 119 airports nationwide.


If you’re a frequent traveler, you’re all too familiar with the wasted time that goes into waiting in those long security checkpoint lines. Not only is it a drain on your time, it’s quite frankly just an annoying process all together. Of course there’s the waiting in line part, then it’s the process of putting everything from your shoes, belt, lap top and toiletries into the plastic bins, loading your luggage onto the x-ray belt and making your way through the body scanner where you hurriedly fumble to gather your belongings, put your personal items away and your shoes and accessories back on.   


Getting stressed just thinking about the process? The TSA PreCheck may be a good alternative for you. We can’t guarantee it’ll solve all your traveling woes, but we have compiled a list of pros and cons for TSA PreCheck that may help you decide whether it’s the right option for you.

The Pros:

No more taking off your shoes. This means no more walking around airport security with bare feet or socks, and you don’t have to pick your shoes based on how easy they’ll be to take off at security.

You can leave your Sleeper Scarf on. With TSA Pre-Check you get to leave your light outwear, jacket and belt on through security  

Laptops and Liquids stay in your suitcase. The other passengers will be giving you envious glances as you cruise through security without fumbling through your suitcase to separate these items out.

Cuts down on pat-downs and body scans. Your BFF the TSA agent might miss you a little…

The line for the PreCheck moves faster. There are never enough hours in the day, so who doesn't love the gift of time? Plus, it will give you extra time to pick out your favorite trashy magazine for your flight.

 If you add Global Entry to your repertoire, you don’t have to wait through the customs lines. These passengers breeze back into the country with quick-pass kiosks and avoid the long lines at customs and immigrations.

The Cons:

Only certain airlines participate. Airlines include: Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, Sun Country Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways, and Virgin America

Invasive background checks. TSA collects a cache of personal information about you, including your fingerprints which are held in a database for 75 years. The database is queried by the FBI and state and local law enforcement as needed to solve crimes at which fingerprints are lifted from crime scenes.

You may still have to go through regular checkpoints. As part of the TSA’s guarantee to perform all-encompassing random security checks on those that travel, even individuals who have undergone the Pre-check and paid their fees may have to go through the regular checkpoints occasionally.

You can lose your preferred status at any time. And you may not ever be given the reason why you lost it.

You may not ever know why you get turned down. Even after taking the time to apply, it’s possible to be denied without even an explanation. 


A Few More Deets You Should Know:

-The cost for the PreCheck membership is $85 every 5 years

-The cost for Global Entry (for international travel) is $100 every 5 years

-A seedy past will likely disqualify you. You can read more on qualification here.

How to Enroll

There are three ways to become part of the TSA PreCheck program:

1. By pre-enrolling on the TSA.gov site

2. By invitation through an airline’s frequent flier program

3. By admission into another DOHS Trusted Traveler program like Nexus or SENTRI

What are your thoughts on the new TSA PreCheck? Are the benefits worth the application and fees? Fellow travelers, we’d love to hear from you!

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