by Military Diva
Who loves standing in line? Anyone, anyone?!?
I really don’t think anyone is ever thrilled about standing in line, especially when heading to or from an anticipated vacation. We are often so excited to get where we are going and so tired when leaving that the thought of standing in another line drives us to the end of our patience.
When dealing with airport lines, TSA Precheck may be the answer to our waning sanity!
What is TSA Precheck?
Basically, you can skip the main TSA security lines at the airport! All passengers will still be required to pass through TSA security. But, registered Precheck members enter a (typically) shorter line-shoes, belts and jackets do not get removed; tablets/laptops remain in bag; allowable liquids/snacks do not need separated. Passengers place their closed bags on the scanner belt and proceed through the old style metal detectors rather than the full body scanner. As long as an alarm isn’t triggered, Precheck passengers can be through security in minutes rather than hours. According to the TSA website, “In June 2018, 93% of TSA Pre✓® passengers waited less than 5 min.”
How to travelers obtain and use TSA Precheck?
- Apply Online-Fill out the short TSA application online, using your full, legal name that is shown on your Driver’s License or Passport. Include personal information such as address, contact details, date of birth, birth/citizenship details and answer a short series of personal questions. You will then do a search for a location and appointment time to complete enrollment requirements.
- Background check-arrive at your chosen TSA appointment location at your designated time. Be sure to have your citizenship documents with you. Remember that if your birth certificate has maiden name and driver’s license has married name you will also need a certified, raised seal marriage certificate. At this interview you will be fingerprinted, have your photo taken and will participate in a brief interview. You can expect to be asked questions similar to those on your application but may also be asked about your employment, criminal record and travel habits. At this point you will be required to pay the $85 processing fee.
- Use your TSA precheck number-Most applicant’s will receive notice of approval and a Known Traveler Number within a few weeks. The hard part is over! When you book your next flight you will add your Known Traveler Number to your flight reservation, identifying your status with the airline. Your boarding pass will now be marked with TSA Precheck, allowing you to enter the priority security line.
- Once approved, TSA Precheck will be valid for 5 years.
How do Military Members Benefit from TSA Precheck?
DoD employees and members of the US armed forces (Active, Reservists, National Guardsmen, members of the Coast Guard, students at the U.S. Military Academy/U.S. Naval Academy/U.S. Coast Guard Academy/U.S. Airforce Academy) are eligible for COMPLIMENTARY TSA Precheck!
- Locate your DoD ID number. (10 digit number found on back or CAC card; can also be found under “my profile” on MilConnect
- Enter DoD ID into the Known Traveler Number area on your flight reservation.
- Ensure your boarding pass is marked with TSA Precheck (visit the airline counter at the airport with your military id if you do not have this listed)
- Look for the designated TSA Precheck line when arriving to the airport.
- Locate DoD ID number.
- Log into your DTS profile and add your DoD ID number to the Known Traveler Number field.
- Your Known Travel Number will auto populate when making official flight arrangements.
DoD civilians will need to opt into the TSA Precheck program
- Log into MilConnect
- Click on “My Profile”
- “Update and View My Profile”
- Click on “CIV” tab
- Click on “TSA Precheck Program” tag in the Personnel Status area
- Submit and proceed with the instructions above.
Are Military dependents eligible for complimentary TSA Precheck?
Short answer, yes and no! All children 12 and under are allowed to enter the TSA Precheck line with their parents without having their own Known Traveler Number. (This is for all TSA Precheck members, not just DoD or military members.) However, children over 12 and spouses do not qualify for complimentary TSA Precheck.
Tips for utilizing complimentary TSA Precheck
- Have the military member join their airlines loyalty program and add their Known Traveler Number under their profile. When booking flights for your family, book from the military members account, with their name being listed first. Every time we have traveled, family members included on the itinerary have been granted TSA Precheck along with our Service member. While not ever guaranteed, the benefit has always just shown up on our boarding passes.
- If for some reason you do not receive TSA Precheck along with your spouse, send extra bags and child equipment through security with them. You may have to wait in the longer TSA line, but can breeze through quicker with fewer bags to scan and empty.
- Remember, the service member has complimentary access because their background information has already been scrutinized and is regularly updated. The main goal of the program is to pre-screened against safety threats to the public. Those that have been cleared are granted fewer security checks in exchange for having their backgrounds and records reviewed and possible monitored. Please do not complain if you are not granted complimentary access along with your spouse. Technically, your background has not been checked as thoroughly as others using the service.
TSA Precheck can be a game changer, eliminating unnecessary stress from your travel plans. On a recent trip to Puerto Rico our family was through security in less than five minutes. The standard security line was estimated to have an hour and a half wait. Our time was spent much more efficiently exploring the DUFRY (duty free shops) for last minute souvenirs! Do yourself a favor and consider applying for TSA Precheck. And if you are a member of our military or a DoD employee be sure to take advantage of your complimentary access to TSA Precheck.
For additional tips or help planning your next trip please contact me at All for Dreams Travel, an independent agency with Gateway Travel/Gateway to Magic Travel and Authorized Disney Planning Agency.