Considering paying the fee for TSA PreCheck, but not sure it’s worth the money for you? Here are the benefits you’ll get from having PreCheck on your next flight.
Keep in mind this very important line from the TSA: “TSA uses unpredictable security measures, both seen and unseen, throughout the airport. All travelers will be screened, and no individual is guaranteed expedited screening.“
This means that while PreCheck will give you the possibility of relaxed security measures and an expedited security procedure, it’s not an entitlement. If, for whatever reason, a security agent thinks you need to remove your shoes or to get a more in-depth scan for metal objects, you will have to agree if you want to fly. This includes removing your laptop from your bag or doing a deeper search of your bag.
TSA PreCheck also does not make you exempt from random security searches, like those conducted immediately prior to boarding. It will simply mean you have the chance (usually a very good chance) of a quicker security process, making it faster and easier to get into the secure part of the airport.
Here is what you can expect if you have PreCheck on your upcoming flight:
- Shorter, faster moving security lines at most terminals at all major airports in the US (over 200 airports and 85 airlines)
- No need to remove shoes to get through security
- No need to remove your belt to get through security
- Not required to remove laptops, Kindles, or iPads from your bag to get through security
- Can wear a light jacket when going through security
- 3-1-1 liquids may stay in your bag during security
And that’s it! There are no other discounts, bonuses, or benefits that come with PreCheck.
Is TSA PreCheck Worth The Money?
Considering a cost of about $16 per year for 5 years (paid up-front of course), PreCheck is considered to be a very good deal for most travelers. It will be included with many premium credit cards so the cost will be lowered or at least hidden for many people.
PreCheck won’t get you much, if but it means saving a few hours a year in security line time and possibly getting on a flight that you could have otherwise missed, then it’ll be a great deal for many travelers.
If you only fly once or twice a year, you tend to use smaller airports, you are a light packer, and/or you like to show up at the airport very early then PreCheck might not be worth the trouble. After all, there is the cost, but also the time spend doing the application and going to the interview.
Ultimately, business and frequent travelers tend to consider PreCheck a no-brainer, but it’s definitely not mandatory for all travelers and it may not be useful if you don’t travel often or you travel with children who are under 12 and don’t have PreCheck, so you have to use the normal security line anyway!