Say goodbye to long security wait times.

Airport
Marco Bottigelli

If you’ve ever waited in an extremely long airport security line and stressed the whole time about whether you were going to miss your flight or not, you know how scary that feeling can be. Even as someone who likes to get to the airport extremely early, I’ve had a couple of near-misses because of traffic to the airport and/or the sheer number of people traveling those days. Air travel can be stressful enough as it is, so anything that makes it just a little bit better makes a whole lot of difference.

That’s where TSA PreCheck comes in clutch. The expedited security screening process means you won’t have to take off your shoes, belts, and jackets, or take your electronics and 3-1-1 compliant liquids out of your carry-on bag. And because you don’t have to do all of the above, the line goes a lot faster. The TSA reports that in September 2022, 93% of TSA PreCheck passengers waited less than five minutes at airport security checkpoints nationwide. Okay sure, I’ve waited longer than that with TSA PreCheck at some airports, but the line definitely does go faster than the regular security line and it gives me some peace of mind. 

That’s why now might be the best time to get it before your next travels because the TSA just reduced the enrollment fee from $85 to $78. It might not seem like a big discount, but just think—if approved, you’ll get a five-year membership and you can spend the money you saved on a leisurely cup of coffee at the airport because you’ve made it through security so quickly. Renewal still costs $70, though.

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You can enroll in person at one of the 500 enrollment centers nationwide, and once you’re approved, you’ll receive your Known Traveler Number (KTN) in about three to five days. You can then apply that number to flight reservations so the TSA PreCheck designation appears on your tickets. Head to tsa.gov/precheck for more information.

It’s also important to note that some credit cards will cover your application fee, too, so check your card’s benefits—some include the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Capital One Venture X Card, the Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card, and more. The TSA has a list of participating cards.

If you anticipate both domestic and international travel in your future, you’ll probably want to sign up for Global Entry instead, although its application fee has not been reduced. For $100, you’ll have expedited clearance upon arrival in the United States after traveling internationally, aka you’ll be able to clear customs faster. It also comes with TSA PreCheck so it’s a good deal if you plan on traveling out of the country as well.

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