I love going through airport security.
Said no one ever.
The long lines, having to take your shoes off and walking through those invasive body scanners can add an extra layer of anxiety for those of us who are afraid of flying.
Not to mention the stress (read: anger) you feel sometimes when dealing with other passengers. Do you really need 10 minutes to unload all your junk on the conveyor belt? And just because you showed up late to the airport, what makes you think you can now cut me in line?
The process can also be unpredictable. Sometimes it takes 5 minutes to get through. Other times it takes 40 minutes and you start sweating at the possibility of missing your flight. By the time you’re putting your shoes back on, your blood pressure has already spiked and you hate everyone around you.
Dramatic? Perhaps, but if you are a nervous flyer, why force yourself to go through this stressful process when you really don’t have to? You are a law abiding citizen, why wait in long lines and get manhandled at the airport? TSA Precheck allows you to walk through security like the good old days.
In the 7 months that I’ve been a member, I’ve traveled to four different destinations and the effects on my psyche have been undeniable. During those very stressful pre-flight moments, I no longer have to worry about missing my flight because I know security will be a breeze. I drop my carry on luggage on the conveyor belt, walk through a metal detector, and off I go.
It may not seem like much, and it certainly hasn’t completely cured me of my flying phobia, but simplifying the security process has definitely alleviated some of my stress. On the plus side, you also get to point and laugh at those suckers still going through the regular security line.
Don’t be a sucker! Here is how to sign up for TSA Precheck
Even if you’re not a nervous flyer, TSA Precheck is still worth the effort, especially if you fly more than once a year. There is a one-time $85 fee to sign up but your membership is valid for 5 years (kids 12 and under are covered by their parents’ membership).
The process is pretty simple. To begin, visit https://www.tsa.gov/tsa-precheck/apply and fill out the enrollment application (doing this online is not mandatory but it saves you a few minutes during your in-person appointment). Once complete, schedule your appointment using the online form.
TSA has a long list of designated locations where appointments are held and there is likely one near you (check your local airport). I had to wait only a few weeks to schedule my appointment but depending on where you live, you may have to wait a while to find an available time and date. TSA does take walk-ins, but those with an appointment will be given priority.
During your appointment (which lasts less than 10 minutes), a TSA agent will confirm all of your information (remember to bring a form of ID) and scan your fingerprints. I received confirmation of my approved application less than 3 weeks later and I was able to use my known traveler number right away.
On a side note, if you travel internationally and plan to sign up for Global Entry, skip the TSA Precheck application as it comes free with your Global Entry membership.