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What does the TSA Precheck Mean?

What does the TSA Precheck Mean?


Just recently we flew home on United Airlines.    When we got to the security line, we realized that my husband had the TSA Precheck on his boarding card, and I didn’t.

boarding pass with precheck

I asked myself “What does having the “TSA Precheck” mean on your boarding card?

He was able to skip the long security line and go thru the “Precheck” line.   The “TSA Precheck” line is a special lane for background-checked travelers, who can keep their shoes, belt and jacket on, leave their laptops and liquids in carry-on bags and walk through a metal detector rather than a full-body scanner.

Meanwhile, I’m going thru the security line where the body scanner is.  Taking off my boots which  it’s not an easy task, removing all my layers of sweaters,  taking out my ziplock bag with all my four ounce liquids and my computer from my carrying case.    All this in a two minute race as you are being told to push your bags through the line and trying to rush.    As I’m doing this I see my husband going thru the TSA Precheck line in record speed.

I have to admit I was a little jealous to say the least.   How come he has it on his boarding pass and I don’t, was the question that came to mind.

Until now, only certain elite-level airline passengers and people who have Global Entry or Nexus “trusted traveler” status have been approved for TSA recheck.

How do I  apply for TSA Precheck?   The application process is not available online yet, but they are taking pre-enrollment applications at the Indianapolis International Airport.  The application fee is $85 nonrefundable.  We need to continue to check the website for updates:   

Interested applicants must visit an application center to provide biographic information (name, date of birth, address, etc) fingerprints and valid required identity and citizenship immigration documentations.  Clearance is good for 5 years.

After completing enrollment in the TSA precheck program, successful applications will receive a Known Traveler Number (KTN) via U.S. mail after approximately 2-3 weeks or may check online after five business days.

Not all airlines are participating in the program at this time, which means that if you fly an airline like Spirit, you can’t use the lane.  Airlines that participate in Pre-Check are Delta, American, JetBlue, Southwest, United, US Airways, Alaska, Hawaiian and Virgin America.

If you are enrolled in a frequent flyer program to be considered for expedited screening under TSA Precheck, passengers must choose to opt in to the program via the MyProfile section of your airline.

Children 12 and under will be able to use the line if the adult they are traveling with has Pre-Check clearance..

So for now all we can do is go into each of our frequent flyer programs and select that we would like to participate in the TSA Precheck program.   Continue to check the website for updates to see when it becomes available in your area.

My only concern is what if millions of people get clearance, will the lines be as long as the regular lines?      



About the author

Carmen Edelson is the Founder of Carmen's Luxury Travel. Carmen has been traveling the world for over a decade. Her travels allow her the opportunity to pursue her itch to travel to the best luxury destinations, and experience those first class tastes from around the world.


  1. Mylene
    December 13, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    Enjoyed your article. I was laughing because I could actually picture it! I booked marked the TSA link and will definitely look into it after the holidays. Anything to save a little time and the hassle of practically undressing. Thanks for the link!

  2. The GypsyNesters
    January 5, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    While we would love shorter lines, flying 4 or 5 trips a year doesn’t really seem worth it. Love your point at the end too, what if everybody does it?

    • Carmen
      January 5, 2014 at 6:26 pm

      A agree it doesn’t really seem worth it. It does however, come in handy when you’re in a hurry and can skip a line of 30 passengers that are waiting to go through the regular security line.

    • The GypsyNesters
      January 6, 2014 at 4:48 pm

      No doubt! Happy New Year.

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