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Old 03-11-2014, 03:57 AM   #1
AaronK
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Default PreCheck worth it?

Now that TSA PreCheck is becoming wore widely available, I've been considering joining. Not that I'm much of a frequent flyer, but it seems to me the advantages, for me, might make it worth it.

If I'm traveling for business, I'm normally carrying 2 laptops, plus a CPAP machine. Assuming I read the rules correctly, if I am accepted into PreCheck, and I can't think of a reason why I wouldn't be, not having to unpack these items alone would be worth the cost of the background check, even if I'm only going through an airport 2-3 times a year.

Anyone have any thoughts?
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Old 03-11-2014, 01:05 PM   #2
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I'm not clear on this program. I know there's a fee to join - but don't know if it's an annual fee or just a one time enrollment fee.

I haven't applied or joined, but on my last flight on United, I and the two young children travelling on the same reservation were "pre-checked" by TSA. We didn't have to remove shoes, jackets, belts or take the laptop out of the bag.

I'm assuming it has to do with the frequent flyer account and my credit card that's tied to that account.

On the other hand, coming back from Iceland on Iceland air, I was selected for a random search at the gate - after already having had security go through my entire carry on at the check point.
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Old 03-12-2014, 01:25 PM   #3
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I get to use the Pre-Check lane as part of my Global Entry credentials. I'm not sure I would subscribe to just the Pre Check program alone.

Perhaps I've been lucky but wherever and whenever I've gone through security and the Pre Check line, it's been just Pre check qualified people passing through. It hasn't been inundated with the "overflow" crowd, etc.
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Old 03-12-2014, 04:12 PM   #4
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Here some help in understanding the program.

First, the application costs $85 to process and is non-refundable. If you are accepted your membership is for 5 years. Five year renewals will cost $85 assuming between now and then, the cost isn't raised.

Part of the process, after submitting your application on line, is to go to a TSA Precheck application center. This can be a problem for some people. There are many locations in the US where the nearest Precheck Center to which you must go to complete the application process is more than a 100 miles away. Until last month, for example, the closest center to my home was 77 miles away, and I live in 5th largest city in the US.

Being a member of Precheck doesn't mean you'll get to use the Precheck line 100% of the time. My overall usage has been about 98% of the time in airports with Precheck. I've been told many others haven't been able to use it as often.

Being a member of Precheck doesn't get another adult in your "party" the right to use Precheck with you. All adults must enroll in Precheck on their own. Children 12 and under are eligible for PreCheck when traveling with an eligible adult. Children over 12, must be enrolled on their own.

When using a Precheck line you don't have to remove your belt, shoes, your light outerwear/jacket, and you can leave your 3-1-1 compliant bag and laptop in your carry-on.

When using the Precheck line, you still have to use a 3-1-1 compliant bag for your liquids and gels in your carry-on. You still have to remove your hat, and any heavy jacket or coat and put them in the trays for x-ray. You still have to remove your coins, cellphone, and anything else which will set off a metal detector.

Your belongings will still go into x-ray, while you go through a metal detector. If you set off the metal detector, you'll be wanded.

TSA Precheck can now be used for both domestic and international flights. You have to input your membership number when you make your reservation.

Frankly, if you fly internationally at least once per 3-5 years, or more, I'd spend an additional $15 and go for the Global Entry program, which will automatically give you Precheck membership too. GE costs $100/5 years. With GE you get to be expedited through immigration and having your passport checked when you return to the US. I've had it save me 45min to an hour and a half.

If you have other questions, let me know.
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Old 03-13-2014, 07:01 AM   #5
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Default

Thanks for the input.

For the past few years, my only international travel has been via cruise ship, so I can't see going for Global Entry.

Fortunately, there are enrollment centers close by for me, but when I looked, none of them have an appointment in the next 30 days. I suppose I could plan a day, get there early, and do a walk in, but it sounds like sitting at the DMV.....
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Old 03-13-2014, 10:10 PM   #6
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Aaron, whatever you do, don't do the walk-in. They don't guarantee if you do a walk-in that they will take you at all. It isn't worth taking a chance, as many times they take as few as 25% of the walk-in traffic each day.

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Originally Posted by AaronK View Post
Thanks for the input.

For the past few years, my only international travel has been via cruise ship, so I can't see going for Global Entry.

Fortunately, there are enrollment centers close by for me, but when I looked, none of them have an appointment in the next 30 days. I suppose I could plan a day, get there early, and do a walk in, but it sounds like sitting at the DMV.....
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