Adam Dupuis's picture

No More Free TSA PreCheck For Non Applicants. Why PreCheck & Global Entry Are Worth It.

Traveling with TSA PreCheck and Global Entry make hopping off and on planes and in and out of countries a breeze … unless you get some newbies traveling in front of you.

I was recently on a flight to the Bahamas and I swear, some of these people had just left their homes for the very first time. The amount of chaos they were creating was mind numbing.  It entertained me and the handsome soccer coach I sat next to on the small Jet Blue plane.

When I moved to Florida, I knew that I would be traveling more so I updated my expiring passport and applied for Global Entry and TSA PreCheck.  The process was easy back in 2013 and it is even easier now.  I thought I was special and would be cutting lines everywhere as a seasoned and approved traveler.  Little did I know, the TSA often shuts down their alternate security lines, don’t have PreCheck at all airports, and also gives “random” travelers a TSA PreCheck stamp of approval even if they have not purchased it.

Thank you flight goddesses in the sky!!  TSA PreCheck will go back to just allowing officially approved people into the TSA Pre-Check lines. It was a WTF moment when I learned that these newbies were asking, “do I keep my shoes on?  what about my laptop?” because they had never used the service since it was a Willy Wonka moment for them.  They had never set aside the time to apply or be interviewed so the “just empty your pockets and go through” was lost on them.

I'm not an elitist (maybe just a little), but I feel if you didn't pay for the convenience, you are inconveniencing others that did.  Let's  just say I'm applauding and smiling that February is the end of the "fast lane for free" when it comes to the airport lines. Here's more from travelandleisure.com.

Passengers not enrolled in PreCheck have previously been ushered through in a variety of ways. Some passengers are vetted, risk-assessed, and allowed to pass through expedited screening on a flight-by-flight basis.

When normal lines become too congested, the TSA sometimes allows travelers without a Known Traveler Number to pass through PreCheck. However the agency does not predict that tightening limits for PreCheck will affect line lengths at airports.

The announcement comes after the TSA added 11 more airlines to the program. A total of 30 airlines now participate in the program. So far 12 million people have registered for TSA PreCheck, which falls behind the agency’s goal of enrolling 25 million people by 2019. - travelandleisure.com

When I was waiting in the security line in the Bahamas to board my Southwest flight home, I was behind some people I recognized from the Atlantis resort.  Let's just say, I desire to never see this family again.  Unfortunately, the Nassau, Bahamas Airport did not have a TSA PreCheck line so I had to be mingled with them for some time.  But you had better believe I made sure I located and used the Global Entry line.  Because I had Global Entry, customs took TWO MINUTES.  Literally, figuratively, digestively, successfully, TWO MINUTES from me taking my bags from the regular generic security scanner to walking away from the customs agent.  Meanwhile, the family of terror had to go through the regular customs line and I never saw them again. 

I'm content with all of us air cattle being able to fly and enjoy the experience.  I am now much more content starting this month that the lines will be a little more convenient and accommodating for those of us that went through the extra trouble and money to have these two travel benefits.

For more on TSA PreCheck and Global Entry, here's a video from Stephanie Woo, Senior Editor at Travel + Leisure.  In the video, she mentions that one airline reported that 70,000 of their passengers alone missed their flights last year because they were stuck in security lines.

 

 

Do you have TSA PreCheck?  Global Entry?

If not, what are you waiting for?  What is stopping you?

h/t:  travelandleisure.com