A couple of years ago, I got an email from American inviting me to participate in a pilot program of some new expedited security system called “TSA Pre-check”. I was interested enough to read about it on the TSA website. It sounded very interesting, but I didn’t travel to any of the airports where it was available and declined to participate.
Over the last two years, I’ve followed the progress of TSA Pre-check. Frequent travelers from all over the country like it a lot, and I knew that when it was more widely available I would participate. Until recently, it still didn’t have a presence at any of the airports I frequented, so I wasn’t too concerned about it. Until a few weeks ago, when I flew to Nashville. I saw signs that it was going to be offered in my home airport and two others that I frequent often! I decided to apply immediately. Except that, as much as I searched, I couldn’t find the “application”. I looked all over the American Airlines website and the TSA website, but my Google-fu failed me. Finally I called American, and was told that unfortunately I wasn’t eligible anymore. However, I could participate in Pre-check if I participated in Global Entry. BTW, in case you don’t know, the fee for applying for Global Entry is a non-refundable $100.
I am pretty irritated. Should I be? Is Pre-check really that awesome? Of course it would be nice to not have to take my shoes off or laptop out of my bag, but should I be all up in arms? It just seems silly that you have to either be invited or pay to be a part of the program.
Oh, and the other good news American gave me was that I can easily get my Platinum status back for the low, low rate of $750. Lucky me! /sarcasm
Readers, what have your TSA Pre-check experiences been? Is it worth paying for? Is there a loophole that I missed?