TSA PreCheck – No Waiting, No Undressing

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has a new program, called TSA PreCheck, that allows certain trusted travelers to pass through security without removing their shoes, without removing jackets, without taking laptops out of briefcases, and without taking liquids out of their bag. The bags still go through an X-ray machine, and the traveler still goes through a metal detector, but it is much less hassle than the standard preflight screening. Basically, it is screening done pre-9/11 style.

How do you get on this list of pre-screened travelers? I am not exactly certain. I received a notice from American Airlines that I was in the program, and I have experienced it a couple times. (It is not available at every security screening location.) When I have been able to use it, it has been great. Aside from not having to unpack and undress, the security line is much shorter since not many people are in the program yet. Even the screeners are more friendly and helpful, probably because they are much less busy and are dealing with people who already know how to get through the screening process efficiently.

Want to get in the program, and no airline has invited you? It looks like you can become part of TSA PreCheck by joining the Customs and Border Patrol’s Global Entry program. That will cost you $100 and requires a background check and personal interview with a CBP agent, but that program lets you bypass the long lines at customs when entering the U.S. at some locations, including DFW. If you travel a lot, it’s worth it.

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