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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5 Etiquette Tips for Your Next Flight

by Tiffany Paul


Whether you travel for leisure, for business or personal reasons, chances are if you are traveling a great distance you will opt for air travel.  When you do, it means you spend anywhere from a couple hours to the better part of a day in a new (enclosed!) space with a bunch of other people (strangers!) from all over the world (places you’ve never heard of!) and all walks of life.

As a frequent air traveler, I often encounter people who rarely fly. In fact, I meet people who have never even boarded an airplane. Sometimes these new travelers are unaware of airplane etiquette that seasoned travelers have usually picked up on while racking up their frequent flyer miles. For those who are just beginning their traveling adventures, here are 5 airplane etiquette tips to help ensure a pleasant flight for both you and your fellow passengers.

 

1.    Know your personal space. And respect the space of your travel neighbors. Anything you carry on will have to be stored in an overhead bin or under the seat in front of you, so try not to take more than your fair share of space. If you are sitting in an aisle or window seat, be courteous to your middle seat neighbor and relinquish the armrests so they can have a little more room (you’ll appreciate the same courtesy the next time you get stuck in the middle!).  If you think you might doze off during the flight, you may find that a Sleeper Scarf can help reduce those awkward moments when you wake up snuggling your neighbor’s shoulder.

 

 

2.    Be polite to a chatty neighbor.  Even the shortest flight can seem long if you feel pressured into a conversation with the person sitting next to you. Bring something to read, listen to, or work on, or pull out your Sleeper Scarf for a nap and apologetically excuse yourself from the conversation if you’re not in the mood to chat. If you’re the one doing the chatting, know it is fine to strike up small talk, but be mindful if someone is hinting that they want to be left alone. It’s probably nothing personal, your neighbor may just be looking for some peace and quiet.

 

 

3.    Respect the flight attendant. Sometimes passenger issues, weather complications, or a hold-up on the runway delay a plane schedule. These decisions are neither the flight attendant nor the pilot’s fault, and getting frustrated doesn’t expedite the flight. When the flight attendant asks you to follow specific instructions, such as staying seated, or turning off your electronics during takeoff and landing, it is important to do as you are asked. The flight attendant is communicating the airline’s policy, not trying to give you a hard time. Finally, do your best to time your trips to the lavatory around the beverage deliveries so you aren’t wiggling around the flight attendant’s drink cart.

 

 

4.    Mind your personal hygiene.  This is never an easy topic, but remember that you are in a small space with a lot of people, so making yourself comfortable could make someone else uncomfortable if you go too far. For example, keep your shoes on. Everybody will smell your stinky feet. Nobody will thank you. Wear deodorant. Keep gum handy. Chewing gum also helps when your ears pop from elevation changes. You can share that little piece of information with a neighbor if they have stinky breath, too! Also, go light with perfume or lotion the day of your flight. To some, strong fragrances can be as offensive as body odor or bad breath.

 

 

5.    Wait your turn to get off the plane.  Jumping up quickly, climbing over other passengers’ laps and rushing into the aisle to get your bag first is probably not going to help you get off the plane any faster in the long run. If you’re worried about missing a connecting flight, talk to your flight attendant before you land and ask for assistance deplaning quickly. Everybody is anxious to get off the plane. Wait your turn.