Is TSA PreCheck Right for you?

A Value Proposition

Do you enjoy waiting in long lines as part of the Security Theater TSA forces you to engage in before flying?  Do you like being groped like a a Freshman on Prom-night by a stranger?  How about being singled out for a more pronounced fondling and interrogation because of your long hair or dark skin?  Do you crave the exciting gamble of racing down the concourse to hopefully board your plane before the doors close?

If you answered No to any of these questions, then you might enjoy the glamorous benefits of TSA PreCheck & GlobalPass.  Each one offers ‘Skip the Long Line’ benefits, with the latter being offered in various countries in addition to the United States.  These two programs are just like the line-cutting ‘Fast Pass’ at Disney Land.  And just like @Disney, they were originally designed to benefit the fabulously wealthy whose time is more valuable than yours.

Recently however, many of the high end credit cards have begun offering a ‘TSA PreCheck Credit’ – which is an $85 value ($95 for Global Pass).  Besides zipping through the lines and getting to watch your less fortunate brethren languish in agony 12 feet away –  PreCheck also comes with more lenient pat-down procedures.  Keep your shoes on.  Leave your laptop in your bag.  Quicker pat downs if at all.  And best of all a quiet respect from the TSA agents who will treat you with dignity and help you get out of the worst part about traveling as quickly as possible.

OK, so what’s the catch?

Requirements for TSA PreCheck are:

Sign up and get (digitally) fingerprinted, via a quick appointment

Quick Background Check

  • Are you a Terrorist? If so, don’t bother
  • Are you a petty hooligan with a couple of minor offenses from your checkered past? Only Felonies will make it difficult to obtain TSA PreCheck Status.

Are you a baby?  If so, ask your Mom to drive you to the fingerprinting booth.  Plead the 5th if they ask you if you’ve done hard time in the womb.

Are you a citizen?  (I’d recommend becoming a US Citizen, America is pretty rad for the most part.)

Do you have two forms of government issued ID?   Passport, Birth Certificate, SSN card, Driver’s License etc.

Are you in possession of one of the following Credit Cards?

For GlobalPass- the rules above all apply except they are more strict with which petty crimes you can have on your record while still getting approved.  Many folks have been denied for TWO DUIs, but folks with one sometimes make it through.  You will also be interviewed (even babies) and while the process is quick, it CAN be longer if you have a sketchy past.   The online form to apply is also much longer.

Petty drug offenses SOMETIMES get through, but the odds are not in your favor.  (For this reason, I’d apply for TSA PreCheck first if you are unsure).

Here’s a list of which cities / airports support the GlobalPass program:

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I get TSA PreCheck for someone else with those cards if I already have it? ?

  • Yep, They make great gifts!  “Hey Cousin Rob, I got you the gift of saving 42 minutes in the airport every time you fly for the next 5 years”

How long does the process take?

  • About 5 minutes online, and then 10 minutes in person during your appointment.  Waiting times vary by city.

Does EVERY Airport have a TSA Precheck line?

  • Nope, but all the hubs do and all the airports worth their salt should have it.  If your airport is so small lt doesn’t have one, you likely don’t need to worry about the lines anyways.

Do I have to pay with my “Fancy Premium Credit Card” to get it for free?  I left mine at home.

  • Well that was dumb.  You have to pay for it with your Fancy Credit Card that Credits the Charge afterwards.

Does it automatically renew after 5 years?

  • Nope, you have to re apply and re-pay – but the odds you get re-approved are very high.

Is there any reason NOT to apply?  I don’t travel that much…

  • Any big city you travel TO will have a Precheck line – and since the same premium card also gives you Lounge Access, that means more time to get schlossed on free snacks and complimentary booze in the Priority Pass, Centurion, or United Lounges.

Do you have any more questions about TSA Precheck or GlobalPass?  If so, leave a comment and it shall be answered in the order it was received.

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