What Is TSA PreCheck? Requirements, Benefits, More

Travelers often dread going through TSA security lines, but by signing up for TSA PreCheck, you can save a lot of time and hassle at airport security.

Exactly how much time can you save? We’ll put it this way: In June 2021, 97% of TSA PreCheck passengers waited less than five minutes at airport security.

Travelers with TSA PreCheck can use dedicated security lines, keep their shoes on and leave their 3-1-1 liquids and laptops in their bags. These benefits are available when flying on dozens of airlines at over 200 airports.

Here, we answer your questions: What is TSA PreCheck, how much does it cost and how can you get it for free?

TSA PreCheck is a membership program that offers dedicated airport security lines and streamlined screening at a few hundred airports across the U.S.

Upon approval, members receive a Known Traveler Number that lets the airlines know that you are eligible for TSA PreCheck benefits.

More than 80 airlines participate in TSA PreCheck to provide a smoother airport screening process. Simply add your Known Traveler Number to your flight reservations to receive a “TSA PreCheck” designation on your boarding pass and use the dedicated security lines. On some flights you may not receive TSA PreCheck benefits based on the airline you’re flying, which airport you are flying from or TSA procedures.

Children 12 and under do not need their own TSA PreCheck membership. As long as they are traveling with an adult who is a member, they can use the TSA Security lanes too.

Differences between TSA PreCheck and Global Entry

  • TSA PreCheck makes domestic travel simpler, offering dedicated airport security lanes, lower application fees and several locations where you can enroll.

  • Global Entry, on the other hand, is best for international travelers. This program includes

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Is TSA PreCheck Worth It?


Have you approached the security lines at an airport and seen a separate entrance for people with a TSA PreCheck boarding pass?


This dedicated line for TSA PreCheck members often offers a faster and smoother security screening process at TSA checkpoints. If you want to help avoid a wait in long airport lines, you might consider becoming a member. But be aware that you have to apply for a membership and pay an application fee.


In many cases, paying the fee to become a member is worth it for the occasional or frequent traveler. And if you have a credit card that reimburses your TSA PreCheck application fee, it’s likely a no-brainer to apply. Let’s see how the program works and explore a few situations to see whether TSA PreCheck is worth it for you.

What is TSA PreCheck?


TSA PreCheck is a trusted traveler program offered by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which is part of the Department of Homeland Security. The purpose of this program is to help expedite the entry of pre-approved and low-risk travelers through TSA security checkpoints.


If you have TSA PreCheck on your boarding pass, you can enter the TSA PreCheck line rather than the general screening line. This isn’t always the fastest option, but it will typically help speed things up. According to the TSA, 94% of TSA PreCheck passengers waited less than five minutes in December 2021.


Additionally, TSA PreCheck members don’t have to remove these items during the screening process:

  • Shoes
  • Belts
  • 3-1-1 liquids in a compliant bag
  • Light jacket/outerwear
  • Laptop from bag


Since you don’t have to remove certain articles of clothing or items from your carry-on bag, TSA PreCheck can help make the process easier and

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