TSA Precheck – Is it worth it?

TSA precheck
image from Ohio.com

Is going through the hassle of getting TSA Precheck certified worth it in the long run?  I say yes, it’s definitely worth it, especially if you fly domestically more than three times a year.  Once you are certified, your TSA Precheck is good for 5 years.  Here’s the breakdown of what you need to do in order to get TSA Precheck:

  • Complete an online application here
  • Schedule an appointment online for your day and time to finish registration at an enrollment center.  Use this link to see where you need to go based on where you live.  They do accept walk-ins, but appointments are given priority.
  • At the enrollment center, you’re required to bring citizenship documents (passport, driver’s license), complete the registration, and pay the $85 fee.

Once you are approved, you are given a “known traveler number” (KTN).  So whenever you book your flights, you simply type in your number in the KTN field when making your reservation.  Not only will you have much shorter security lines, but you won’t have to remove your shoes, laptops, 3-1-1 liquids, belts, and light jackets.  As a result, the whole security process goes much faster, which makes for happier travelers.

However, keep in mind the age restrictions for bringing your children through the Precheck line. We learned the hard way!  Only children age 12 and under are allowed to go with their TSA Prechecked parent.  Children 13 and older are only allowed in the Precheck line if they have been TSA Precheck certified with their own KTN number.

TSA Precheck is only used in the US.  If you fly internationally, you’ll need to look into “Global Entry” for expedited clearance.  The “Nexus” program is for travel primarily between the US and Canada, and “Sentri” is for travel between US and Mexico.

Do a little research and see if TSA Precheck certification works for you and your family.  It may be a bit of a bother, but if it wasn’t, everyone would have it and security lines would be just as long.

Happy Travels!


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