Watching the news and TSA is at the top of the list. Lines of passengers trying to make their flights and missing them due to TSA being understaffed. Growing up flying in and out of Atlanta, I always made sure I was at the airport 4 hours early. I actually love Hartsfield Jackson Airport and prefer to fly through there if it is possible.
Travelers come in and out of airports every day and many may not be familiar with a program that TSA has for travelers. I recently learned of this program and jumped on it immediately. Granted, I have not traveled by air since then but I have advice from a friend who used this service.
TSA has something called TSA PreCheck. Basically, you get cleared for expedited clearance through TSA. You will go through an application and a finger printing process that will perform a background check on you. You can get the finger prints done electrically (no messing finger printing ink) at an appropriate facility. After you have been cleared through the process, you will receive a Known Traveler Number aka KTN. When you make reservations with your agent, online or phone; just provide your KTN. It will be printed on your airline ticket or electric ticket.
Depending on the airport you will either do one of two things.
- Go to the TSA agent at the stand and get cleared to go through the PreCheck line.
- TSA may have a roped off line that you can go straight to after showing your boarding pass with you KTN. (I know in Denver, they had a separate line.)
Going through TSA PreCheck will allow you to minimize the removal of clothes. You will not need to remove your shoes, belt, or light jackets. You will not have to remove your laptop or liquids into separate buckets to have scanned separately.
The cost of getting the TSA Known Traveler Number is $85 dollars and it is good for 5 years. That breaks down to $17 per year. That is a steal when you compare to the cost of missing a flight or changing flights. There are good news bad news with this article.
Good news: Expedited movement through TSA. Some people already qualify for the PreCheck under the Trusted Travelers Group.
Bad news: 160 airports have this PreCheck. There are currently 12 airlines that offer the PreCheck (check link below). Not everyone will be cleared for TSA PreCheck. If you have disqualifying offenses, you will not qualify for the TSA PreCheck. Please check the below:
Overall, I see the TSA as a win win for travelers. Yes, there is a cost for this service but it beats additional stress while traveling through the Airport. I am looking forward to traveling with my KTN this summer. I will be traveling out west and all of my airports will be on the PreCheck list.
Here is the link to apply for the TSA PreCheck:
Tip: Just confirm with your Airline coming and going, that your KTN is on both of your boarding passes. This will save you headaches while traveling.
I did confirm with TSA if you have a minor child, they can go through PreCheck with you. IE a child that does not have a license or state issued ID.