TSA recently opened up its Pre-Check program to anyone willing to pay $85, as long as they meet the requirements. Pre-Check is great for frequent travelers—you don’t have to take your shoes off or take your laptop out of your bag. For the $85 you get TSA Pre-Check for five years. I’ve gotten several questions about this, and here are my thoughts.
- Is this a good deal? Sure, it’s a totally fine deal. Pre-Check can save a ton of time. Right now, the only place to do Pre-Check interviews is in Indianapolis, so if you’re near there and you never plan to travel internationally, go for it. However, there are better options, especially if you travel internationally.
- What about Global Entry/Nexus? If you plan to travel internationally in the next five years, Global Entry or Nexus is a better option than paying the $85 just for Pre-Check. In fact, Nexus is the best option—for $50, you get Nexus, Global Entry, and Pre-Check for five years. The catch is that you have to do your interview near or in Canada. If you don’t plan to travel far north any time soon, Global Entry is a great option. For $100 you get Global Entry and Pre-Check for five years. There are enrollment centers all over the country so it’s super easy to do the interview.
- What if I have Pre-Check through my airline? As far as I know there are no plans to eliminate airline-specific Pre-Check. If you fly one airline all the time, this is a great option. However, if you fly multiple airlines you may want to consider getting Nexus or Global Entry so you will be eligible regardless of which one you fly.
- Won’t this mean that the TSA Pre-Check lines will be full and therefore slower? Of course, this is possible. However, I don’t anticipate a huge uptick in Pre-Check applications initially, since there is only one enrollment center. My hope is that as more people sign up, airports will expand how many lanes they have. Of course, as with anything regarding TSA, Pre-Check is not guaranteed to speed up your travel time, so it’s best not to count on it.
I love TSA Pre-Check, and I especially love Global Entry. When coming home from Manila the customs lines were super long, but going through the GE kiosk took about two minutes total. It was amazing.
Readers, what are your thoughts about opening up Pre-Check to all? Any other questions?