We finally got TSA-Pre

We’d been wanting TSA Pre for a while.  Where $85 once seemed like too much to pay for the privilege of keeping our shoes on and slightly shorter lines at security, with both of us traveling more and our incomes being higher, it now seems worth it.  What wasn’t worth it was trying to get an appointment.  When we were in paradise, there was an office close to us, but appointments were booked 3 months in advance, so we didn’t do it.  Where we live now, we’d have to drive into the city (1h 45 min) to get an appointment which seemed pretty ridiculous.

It turns out that most big airports have TSA-Pre walk-in sign-ups.  Last year we didn’t have our passports when we had some time to kill at a large midwestern airport.  This year, we brought our passports just in case.  As predicted, FIL got us to the airport a few hours early.  There was no line at the TSA-Pre sign-up place.  DH and I each signed up and got our fingerprints taken (now using scanning technology– no ink!).  It literally took 10 min each.  A week later we each got a letter telling us we’d been approved and giving us our confirmation numbers.  Now we just need to enter them into our existing travel plans and put them in for any new travel plans and we’re set for the next 5 years.

Children under 13 (maybe 12?) don’t need their own TSA-Pre because they’re included with the parents.  So we didn’t get them their own.  (We will probably get it for DC2 in a couple years.  Probably at the same airport.)

Do you have TSA-Pre?  Was it a hassle or super easy?

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28 Responses to “We finally got TSA-Pre”

  1. Omdg Says:

    Got global entry a few months back, but then I had to renew my passport, and the method for updating my global entry account online didn’t work. Oh well. I get to see if it’s that much better when I go to a conference in March.

  2. Shannon Says:

    We have Global Entry too – which includes TSA pre. It’s definitely worth it. Domestically, it’s nice not to have to deal with all the hassles of security, particularly when traveling with kids. But for us, the biggest benefit is coming home from overseas travel – no long wait at Customs. The only downside as that we are typically at baggage claim well before our luggage when that happens. Love it.

  3. Dame Eleanor Hull Says:

    I don’t have it and refuse to get it, as a matter of principle. If we’re going to do security theater, then I think everyone should go through the same security theater.

    I’m weird that way.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Of course, the security theater is worse when the TSA pre has very few people in it and the non-pre is packed. Having everyone in non-pre increases congestion in those lines and makes it even nicer for the people who have gotten pre-.

      Paradise actually didn’t take that much longer going through the non-pre lines at one of the airports because almost everyone there had pre- so the regular lines were short and fast.

      • Debbie M Says:

        One of my friends who has it occasionally ends up in a longer line in pre than the regular line. So unfair! Me, thank goodness I don’t fly that much, so I don’t have it.

  4. yetanotherpfblog Says:

    Got Global Entry a few years ago because my employer offered to pay for it. I had to book my confirmation appointment a couple months in advance and my known traveler ID has the worst picture of me ever. But it was totally worth it, both for TSA Pre-Check and especially for international travel. I get to breeze through customs in less than five minutes. It’s glorious.

  5. SP Says:

    I have Global Entry mostly because it was only marginally more expensive and came with TSA-pre. Husband only just got TSA pre, but it has been worth it for work travel alone. Not only are the lines often MUCH shorter, it is just easier and more dignified to not have to remove shoes, take out liquids/laptops, etc.

    The wait list was long, but I did it while connecting at an airport over the holidays. Making a special trip for it was not going to happen..

    (Global entry hasn’t really provided a huge benefit since i haven’t ran into long customs lines, but still worth the marginal cost.)

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      We don’t do much international travel (I go to Canada maybe once every 3-4 years?) and didn’t see any on the horizon, so I guess that’s why we didn’t get it?

      • SP Says:

        Fair enough. I had just started this project/job that would have international travel 1-2x a year, plus we go every year or two for personal reasons. Still barely worth it, though, especially since I was with my husband for personal travel and he hadn’t got around to it yet.

  6. Linda Says:

    After I renewed my passport last year, I signed up for Global Entry. My boss had been making noises about sending me to India again, so I thought that I’d pay the extra for Global Entry since I was going through most of the process anyway. Getting an appointment was daunting, but I found that by checking the website frequently it’s possible to snag a spot that opens up when others have cancelled or changed their appointment. While it sounds awful to say that I drove to/from SFO for a 10:30 PM appointment on a Sunday night, the reality is there was almost no traffic at that time. If I had tried to book an appointment at a a more “normal” time, I was looking at least a 6 month wait and 2 hours in traffic each way (or at least the same time commitment on the BART, with the addition of 45 minutes in the car, too).

    Having just returned from a domestic business trip, I can say I love being able to go through the shorter lines and abbreviated security procedures.

  7. Cloud Says:

    I’ll probably get Global Entry. The new job will have me traveling (in the US) more, so the pre check will be worth it. But with our proximity to Mexico and our reasonably frequent trips to NZ, I think I’ll just go all out and get Global Entry. But I need to read up on Global Entry and find out whether my husband’s status as a green card holder instead of a citizen would make it pointless for me to get.

  8. chacha1 Says:

    We fly so seldom that we haven’t even considered it. And when we do fly, it’s for leisure (i.e. no real time pressure) so generally we just let the process take however long it’s gonna take.

  9. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    With the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, we all got our Global Entry passes and that comes with PreCheck. It took forever to get the appointment for us too but we are close enough to major airport so that part wasn’t bad at all.

    Now I’m jonesing for an international trip or two!

  10. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    DH says on his last trip, he ended up in the wrong line and didn’t get to use TSA-Pre heading out, but he went with colleagues heading back and had to wait 15 min for them to get through security after he had.

  11. Tara Says:

    We have NEXUS. It’s $50 for five years. It gives you the benefits of Global Entry and TSA pre-check, plus special lines at the land borders between the US and Canada, a special customs line when you fly into/out of Canada, and TSA pre-check like benefits in major Canadian airports. You can only find NEXUS at enrollment centers near the Canada/US border, so it’s not better for everyone, but I feel like Americans haven’t always heard of it. My spouse’s manager was about to apply for Global Entry when we told them about NEXUS instead, so they got that. I got it mostly for the land borders (they can be up to a 2 hour wait) when I bought my car, but it’s also really useful when we are flying back from my spouse’s parents’ since they are at least an hour and a half drive from the nearest airport and it helps to worry less about traffic. My spouse loves it for work trips too. Their manager ended up getting it because they were tired of being left behind after security. We are several years out from renewing either of ours at this point, but if we still have the Chase Sapphire Reserve and it still has that benefit, then I plan to ask them if they’ll cover NEXUS when it’s half the price of Global Entry and they cover that.

    That’s cool that children don’t need their own TSA pre-check because even newborns need their own NEXUS.

  12. Lisa Says:

    Is anyone familiar with CLEAR? That is what they’re pushing at my local airport, but I haven’t taken the time to look into it. Our local airport is really pretty easy to navigate so I haven’t had the urge to try for expedited check in.

  13. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    Speaking of National Security, here’s some scripts to call your MOC about the Nunes “memo” and protecting the Mueller investigation: https://www.indivisible.org/resource/releasethememo-fake-scandal-designed-obstruct-justice/ It also has some concrete suggestions for your democratic MOC.


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