Why Families Should Get TSA PreCheck
My family always jokes that, as soon as we are through security at the airport, our vacation really begins. TSA security checkpoints are important, but are often challenging when traveling with children. The TSA has a program that removes extra steps in the security process called TSA PreCheck. Here are some reasons why families should get TSA PreCheck status.
What is TSA PreCheck?
TSA PreCheck allows low-risk travelers a quicker and easier way to go through security checkpoints at participating U.S. airports. TSA PreCheck approved travelers are not required to remove shoes, light jackets, and belts. Carry-on size liquids as well as laptops can stay in luggage instead of removed for inspection. There is a separate line for TSA PreCheck travelers that also allows for an expedited screening.
How to Apply for TSA PreCheck Status
TSA PreCheck status is given to travelers with a Known Traveler Number (KTN). To get a KTN through the TSA, the first step is to complete an online application. After submitting the application, schedule an appointment at a TSA PreCheck application center. I was able to find an application center just two miles from my house.
At the appointment, bring your $85 application fee, valid government identification such as a passport or driver’s license, and proof of citizenship such as a birth certificate or passport. Fingerprints will be collected.
When the application is approved, a KTN will be issued. This number can be entered when making flight reservations. The TSA PreCheck symbol will show on top of the boarding pass and TSA PreCheck travelers will be directed to the TSA PreCheck lane.
TSA PreCheck status is also available for members of the military and travelers who participate in U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Trusted Traveler programs such as Global Entry.
Why TSA PreCheck is Great with Children
I remember my son, 18 months old at the time, in tears because he had to remove his favorite shoes while going through security. When the TSA changed its policy that children 12 and under did not have to remove their shoes, I thought about all of the tantrums now avoided at security checkpoints.
Imagine walking through security where no one has to remove shoes and everything can stay in bags. The added bonus is that the dedicated line is quick and convenient. Last month at Phoenix Sky Harbor, my family sailed through the TSA PreCheck line in under five minutes.
If $85 per traveler sounds expensive, there is a plus for families. Family members 12 and under may use the TSA PreCheck line with a TSA PreCheck parent or guardian. Children are not required to go through the application process or pay the $85 fee.
Currently, TSA PreCheck is available at more than 120 airports nationwide. Participating airlines are: Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, Sun Country Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways and Virgin America.
You may also enjoy:
- Getting Through Airport Security with Kids
- Best Airports for Long Layovers
- How to Avoid Jet Lag While Traveling with Kids
- The Single Parent’s Guide to Surviving the Flight with Kids
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Tricia lives in Phoenix with her husband, 14 year-old daughter and 12 year-old son. She is a special education teacher for elementary students. Her family’s favorite memories…