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6 Important Things To Know Before Applying For TSA PRE-CHECK

So you are interested in TSA PreCheck? I am also as I love to travel and abhor waiting in lines. On the most recent flight from my daughter was randomly assigned TSA PreCheck and I wasn’t, so we were both directed to the uber-long security lines where the minimum wait was 45 minutes. A waiting line to get into the waiting line? No thank you. You Atlanta travelers know my pain. My mission, sign up the entire family for TSA PreCheck so we never have to wait, or take off boots again (at least most of the time).


I first went to the TSA PreCheck website and signed up for an appointment. You must sign up for each individual for an appointment. I was fortunate enough to sign up for the 3 of us for the same time about a week out. TSA PreCheck is only required for those 13 and over, as if you are 12 or younger you are not required to remove your shoes or go through the scanner.  I made the appointment for the South Terminal location about 4 hours before my flight was to leave. TSA has several locations that are NOT at airports. Find your closest location here.


When we arrived at the South Terminal location, there were 2 people waiting and 1 TSA person at the desk. I quickly found out she was the only person working. I gave her our names, Id’s, and told her our appointment time was at 1:15. She took one gentleman back into the private booth and emerged about 10 minutes later and called for my family. It seems like registering for an appointment does have its perks after all. We were jumping to the head of the line. SWEET!


The 3 of us went back into the booth and she took all of our documents and asked for my daughter to go first. She quickly found her in the system. Since she was a minor I had to verify all of the information was correct, and sign for her. My daughter had her fingerprints scanned and then I paid the TSA PreCheck fee of $85 with my credit card. Easy-peasy as Rachel Ray would say. I went next, my husband. We had no issues except for my credit card being rejected after the 2nd swipe. The TSA worker said that it is common for families to have their credit card rejected after 2 swipes. Fortunately, I had brought an additional card to use, just in case. We emerged from the booth to about 15 waiting patrons. I hope at least a few of them made their appointments already, but I don’t think they had.


From beginning to end the entire process only took about 25 minutes, including wait time and $255 for the 3 of us for 5 years. A price I am willing to pay. We should be able to go on the TSA PreCheck website in 7 days to check on the status of our application and should receive it in writing within 4 weeks.


My recent experience with the TSA PreCheck deserves an A+!


A few tips to remember:


1. Make An Appointment.


I repeat: sign up for your appointment ahead of time. Wait times for walk-ins can be up to 45 minutes or longer.


2. Fill Out The Application Online.


While you can fill out the application online, everything must finalize everything in person. Answer the online questions honestly. You will have to submit your social security number at the enrollment center. You do not get your $85 dollars back if you are not approved.


3. Bring more than one form of payment.


especially if you are applying for more than one person. Each registration is a different transaction and after 2 swipes at the same location for the same amount, my credit card was flagged for possible fraud. While I could have called the company to call and correct the situation, it was far easier and quicker to use another card.


4. In about 4 weeks you will be issued a Known Traveler Number.


A KTN, which needs to be updated on all of your flier profiles. For any trips already booked, you must call the airline directly to update your flight information with your KTN at least 2 BUSINESS DAYS before the flight.


5. Even with a KTN, you will be randomly assigned to screenings. 


You will be assigned TSA PreCheck on your boarding pass about 95% of the time.


6. Bring the appropriate documentation for registration.

Your best option is to bring your passport. Mine is not updated with my married name so I brought my driver’s license, birth certificate, and marriage license.


Thank you for reading and happy travels!


You might also like this article: 8 Ways to Stay Sane on Your Next Business Trip


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