Air travel can be a hassle. Between packing, getting checked in online, and arranging for transportation to the airport, many of us show up at the security line feeling mighty stressed, mainly because we know that the worst is yet to come: Slow lines, having to remove shoes and accessories, sorting out carry-on items, and running the risk of leaving items behind are just a few of the indignities that modern travelers have to deal with.
While most travelers find the security process a nuisance, business travelers have other concerns. The extra time it takes to get through security is time that might be better spent on work tasks. It's easy to lose valuable carry-on luggage, particularly electronics, when you have to place them in separate trays to go through the scanners. There is also the risk that a slow security line can cause you to miss a flight, possibly resulting in missed connections, meetings, and other business activities.
Fortunately, there is an alternative available at most airports. The TSA Precheck program allows travelers to bypass the most onerous airport security measures, significantly reducing stress and the risk of losing items or missing a flight.
TSA Precheck Benefits
When you apply for TSA Precheck, The Transportation Security Administration begins a vetting process. Once it is determined that you are a low security risk, you receive your Known Traveler Number, which you can use to book airline tickets. Once you are approved, you have the following benefits:
As long as your airline and airport participate in the program, you can use the dedicated Precheck line at the airport.
In most cases, you'll be able to keep your shoes, belt, and a light jacket or blazer on. (You may be required to remove a belt or shoes if they have many metal parts.) This means you don't have to undress and then redress yourself at the airport.
You won't have to remove your electronics or 3-1-1 toiletry bag from your carry-on bag for separate scanning in most cases.
Your children 12 and younger who are traveling with you can also use the Precheck line. Older children will need their own Precheck number.
Another bonus of the program is that many public venues, including sports stadiums, now honor TSA Precheck participation at their security stations, allowing you to bypass long lines and security precautions.
How Do You Get TSA Precheck?
The most common way to sign up for TSA Precheck is to complete the application process and pay a non-refundable fee. To begin the application process, you'll have to complete some paperwork and then undergo a fingerprint check. Many people opt to start the application process online and then finish the fingerprint component at a local application center.
Airline Loyalty Programs
Some airlines offer the TSA Precheck line to their elite-level miles club members. If you are offered this perk, keep in mind that it can only be used when flying that airline. You'll need to complete the standard vetting process to get your Known Traveler Number that will allow you to use Precheck with any participating airline.
Global Entry is a program offered by the U.S Customs and Border Protection. It allows those who travel outside the country to pass through customs more quickly when they return to the United States. TSA Precheck is included in Global Entry benefits.
TSA Precheck Worth It?
The current cost for TSA Precheck is $85, which covers the cost of being in the program for five years. Many business travelers feel that the price is worth it, given the program's level of convenience.
Looking for more tips and ideas for making business travel affordable, uncomplicated, and fun? Check out our blog.
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