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Is TSA Pre-Check worth it?
Old 12-28-2016, 07:34 AM   #1
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Is TSA Pre-Check worth it?

When I flew to Florida by myself last summer, I waited in interminable TSA lines and was treated meanly, although I had researched their requirements in advance and complied with everything. It was like they had marked me out for suspicion. I know Mr. A. would get confused by such treatment, and am trying to make things easier for both of us.

To be clear, we don't especially mind removing shoes/belts. It's the interminable line and the unpleasant demeanor that are upsetting. At the airport, the pre-check line was much shorter.

We hardly ever travel, but will be taking a few domestic flights this year. I wondered if it's worth applying for TSA pre-check.

The one thread I found was from 2014, and mainly concerned frequent flyers who got Pre-check status w/o applying for it.

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Old 12-28-2016, 07:41 AM   #2
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We got Global Entry early last year, which is the international version of TSA pre-check and it made a world of difference. Getting through security more quickly, kept our shoes on, no liquids in the bag thing. Definitely an advantage. Unless the fee is a budget breaker, no reason not to.
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Old 12-28-2016, 07:41 AM   #3
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We fly 5 or 6 times a year. For $85 for 5 years, it is worth it for us, especially for busy airports like Orlando. Plus as we get older not having to remove shoes is a plus.
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Old 12-28-2016, 07:45 AM   #4
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$85 for 5 years. Online application. Then go to a a fingerprinting place locally (ours was inside an H and R Block). After processing you get an ID number (letters) and use when you make airline reservations. Not taking your shoes off is big with me.
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Old 12-28-2016, 07:49 AM   #5
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OK, the shoe thing doesn't matter to us. But are you treated nicer, and is the line shorter?
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Old 12-28-2016, 07:54 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelB View Post
We got Global Entry early last year, which is the international version of TSA pre-check and it made a world of difference. Getting through security more quickly, kept our shoes on, no liquids in the bag thing. Definitely an advantage. Unless the fee is a budget breaker, no reason not to.
This!

Save lots of time and aggravation.
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Old 12-28-2016, 07:59 AM   #7
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OK, the shoe thing doesn't matter to us. But are you treated nicer, and is the line shorter?
Yes to both.
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Old 12-28-2016, 07:59 AM   #8
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OK, the shoe thing doesn't matter to us. But are you treated nicer, and is the line shorter?
Our experience (2-6 flights, one international, each year so far) since 2012 is that the lines are usually shorter. (We received pre-check with Global Entry, which is WELL worth it.)

Shoes don't concern me either, but leaving laptop and toiletries ziplock in bags is nice.

Not much benefit when we fly through Midway, which hides its relatively long precheck line around a corner. (Granted, at peak times, it is quicker there too.) Pretty much everywhere else has been worthwhile--although you run into the occasional person who tries to take off belt/shoes etc and in the course of being taught the rules will slow things to a crawl.

Treated nicer? All depends. On balance, probably so. Mainly because most of the people in the precheck line travel enough to not clog things up; which in turn makes life easier for the folks filling the uniforms....
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Old 12-28-2016, 08:04 AM   #9
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Global entry sounds good, but before I can apply, I'll have to go through a court-approved name-change and get a new passport, since State uses four names and my DL and SS card have three. I refuse to go back to four names on everything. So I'm just looking at pre-check for now.

Actually it is not sounding all that great. People actually get in the pre-check line and take off their clothes without being asked??
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Old 12-28-2016, 08:05 AM   #10
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I have found the agents usually pleasant, occasionally just neutral, never mean, in the pre-check lines and I have had it for a long time.

The lines are shorter but ,depending on the airport, not non-existent. I was traveling once with a group that included a disabled person and they went through normal security but were fast tracked. I went through pre check and was through way before them

I got Global Entry because I do travel internationally but the domestic part alone is worth every penny to me
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Old 12-28-2016, 08:07 AM   #11
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5 years, $85.00--$17.00 per year? The best money I ever spent. Shorter lines, leave shoes on, don't have to unpack your carry on--all make it far quicker and simple to get thru security. I've also found that the TSA people are a little more patient, I guess because you're making their job somewhat easier....
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Old 12-28-2016, 08:13 AM   #12
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...

Actually it is not sounding all that great. People actually get in the pre-check line and take off their clothes without being asked??
Much less common now. For a while TSA/Airlines were randomly putting people in the pre-check queue; those people tended to be unknowing. Naturally, the most noteworthy incidences stick in one's memory.

Still, it is all that great on average! There is no way DW and I would voluntarily go back to the regular lines--even if we didn't plan to significantly increase our flying.
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Old 12-28-2016, 08:19 AM   #13
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I haven't bought it yet, but sometimes DW and/or I get TSA preferred randomly. The time difference is only a few minutes. The only other difference is shoe removal or not. I'm ok with taking off my shoes and saving $170.
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Old 12-28-2016, 08:25 AM   #14
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Another consideration:

If you're close enough to a Canadian border crossing to go for the interview, you can enroll in NEXUS instead. All the benefits of Global Entry at only $50 for five years. We did that a few years ago and it has been great.
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Old 12-28-2016, 08:26 AM   #15
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It's mandatory to us. We fly about 10-15 times a year. Have had PreCheck about 3 or 4 years. We will be doing Global Entry next since we do travel internationally a little. Lately the TSA lines have been short so it's been not a big deal but have had several times where PreCheck has been a HUGE time saver. That is, several times where the regular line is VERY long and the PreCheck line was merely a few people. I highly recommend it.
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Old 12-28-2016, 08:43 AM   #16
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Agree that the fee isn't huge - still, money is money. Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card with a $450 annual fee offers both a $300 annual travel credit and this:
Global Entry or TSA Pre✔® Fee Credit

Receive a statement credit of up to $100 every 4 years as reimbursement for the application fee charged to your card.5

I was looking into the Global entry/TSA precheck and it looked to me like one could only get it with a scheduled interview for each person and was only done at a few locations in each state - like LAX or PDX. Not really jazzed to drive to the airport just to get a TSA card. Did I misread?
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Old 12-28-2016, 08:53 AM   #17
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...

I was looking into the Global entry/TSA precheck and it looked to me like one could only get it with a scheduled interview for each person and was only done at a few locations in each state - like LAX or PDX. Not really jazzed to drive to the airport just to get a TSA card. Did I misread?
Dunno about Pre-Check, but for Global Entry you likely need to go to the airport, although some cities offer other locations. Global Entry Interview Locations | USA Immigration Visa & Travel Amazed at how many locations now though! Back in my day, after walking uphill in the snow both ways, we had to schedule a long layover at the Miami airport for the interview--there was nothing within a couple hours drive from our house ....
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Old 12-28-2016, 09:21 AM   #18
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I have thought about it, but I get it randomly enough (seems about every other trip) that for now I am not getting it. I have also not encountered problems going through the normal TSA lines.

I tend to get to the airport early for flights (2+ hours), maybe I'm just lucky hitting the lines at the right time when there are not many people, which seems to make the TSA folks a lot calmer.
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Old 12-28-2016, 09:30 AM   #19
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I always get picked for TSA precheck for some reason and DH occasionally gets it. It's 50-50 who gets through the line faster. They handcheck my bags much more often in the precheck (more people work there vs fewer people in line, so maybe they spend more time looking for suspicious things). We travel a lot but never considered getting either TSA or Global Entry.

In the spring the lines for regular TSA were horrendous but money was poured in I believe and now the lines are pretty short (conspiracy theories abound as to why the glut last spring).
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Old 12-28-2016, 09:45 AM   #20
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Do you every buy upgraded or something like Economy Comfort seats. We had them on a trip to London my DD had pre-printed our boarding passes and just handed me mine at the regular TSA, which was only about 3 minutes long, when I got to the agent , he mentioned I had pre-check,,Duh, so did my daughter.at least I hadn't taken off my shoes yet...I think getting the comfort seats might have triggered the pre-check..

If you fly international if you have a international flight and a domestic connection after you clear customs, pre-check can be a big time saver and cause less worry about missing your next flight. I've found getting off a big plane can lead to long lines to re-clear security.
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