We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Read my full disclosure here.
When we came back from our awesome Holland America cruise, we flew home from Ft. Lauderdale International Airport. Since we used a Delta companion ticket for little man’s seat, his reservation was linked to my husband’s – who had just gone thru the process of applying for, and receiving TSA pre-check. Little man and hubby had pre-check on their tickets and baby girl and I did not. Literally, it took us 20 minutes longer to get through the security! All while they were waiting on the other side for us. Obviously, I needed to get in on the TSA action so I finally went to today to complete my TSA application! I am so excited to have TSA precheck and I am so excited to share with you how to apply for TSA precheck!
How to Apply for TSA Precheck
What is TSA Precheck?
TSA stands for Transportation Security Administration and its precheck program allows you to be pre-vetted for airline travel. TSA precheck will save you so much time at airports in the United States. Approximately 200 airports in the United States participate in TSA pre-check. With TSA pre-check written on your boarding pass, you will be able to go through a shorter security line. With this status, you won’t have to remove your shoes, laptops, light jacket, belt or liquids to go through airport security. The TSA claims you will wait less than 5 minutes to go through the checkpoint with TSA pre-check.
How much does TSA Precheck Cost and How to get TSA Precheck Free
Recently, the Momma To Go family was approved for the American Express Platinum Card. This travel perk heavy rewards card does have a high annual fee, but one of the benefits is a reimbursement for money spent on a TSA precheck application. The privilege of having pre-check costs $85 but is good for 5 years – that’s just $17 per year. Kids age 12 and younger may use the pre-check line when traveling with an adult who has pre-check on their boarding pass. So right now we don’t need to apply for the kids.
How to get TSA Pre-Check
The first step in the TSA precheck process is to complete the online registration. For me it took about 5 minutes. I did it right from my phone! The online form asks for your name, previous names, current address and previous address if you have not lived in your current residence for at least 5 years.
After completing the form, you will make an appointment for the in-person screening. These in-person screenings are done at the airport or at a local screening center. I was able to make an appointment for later that same week, at a time convenient for me. New York City area residents can do the in-person appointment at JFK airport, in midtown or at a location in Hicksville, Long Island. After completing the online form, and picking your appointment location and time, you are emailed a confirmation. Now all you have to do is show up to the appointment with your passport or drivers license.
TSA Pre-Check In-Person Appointment
Today I had my TSA pre-check appointment. I was envisioning this taking place in a DMV like setting, but it was at a storefront fingerprint place in a strip mall. I arrived 5 minutes early, checked in and did not wait long to be called. When it was my turn, I went to the back and the whole process took less than 5 minutes. I showed my passport, confirmed my maiden name, current and previous address, and then had my fingerprints taken. Not with ink or any of that, it was all scanned and electronic. Clean and easy!
Now I am waiting to get my “Known Traveler Number” aka KTN. I am flying in 13 days so I HOPE I have it by then. The lady said I will get an approval letter in two weeks, but I can go online to check for my number in 5 days. She gave me a printout of what to do to find this number online. She mentioned that when I do get it my KTN, I have to add it to any existing reservations I’ve made (it’s not automatic). In two weeks, I’m heading down to North Carolina for a long weekend so I really hope to have it by then. UPDATE: I got the number well in time of my travel. As always, the more time you can allow for processing, the better.
PRO-TIP: As another perk of the Platinum Amex we get lounge access when we fly – so now I want to airport travel as much as humanly possible!
Once you have your KTN, you will have to add it to all new reservations so the TSA Pre-Check symbol will appear on your boarding pass. That is how the security agents know you can go through the TSA Pre-check line. I’m so glad to finally apply for TSA precheck and I know this will save us so much time! I can’t imagine regretting getting it!
I mean who doesn’t want more time to hang out in the airline lounge!
Do you want to apply for TSA precheck? Do you have TSA pre-check? For those that have it, do you think it was worth the $85 and the time spent on the application process?
OTHER AWESOME TRAVEL TIPS:
APPLY NOW! BUT IF YOU NEED TO, PIN FOR LATER: