TSA Precheck In Reality

Old Apr 1, 16, 10:53 am
  #1  
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TSA Precheck In Reality

I have been interested for a while in joining TSA Precheck although I did have questions:

1) What is the success rate getting TSA Precheck on your boarding pass? I have been a little weary in joining since it seems that if you join it only seems to increase the chance to use Precheck not really have it 100% of the time.

2) Are the TSA Precheck lines always short?

3) Are there any other issues with TSA Precheck that doesn't make it worth buying?


I finally want to make a jump on joining since I was almost late due to a long security line in Reno (about a month ago) and I saw that they had a Precheck line opened (3-4 agents staffing the lane) and about a couple of people went through fairly quickly while the regular line was about 40-50 minutes long. I barely made that flight, in fact they closed the door right after I went through Phew!

Thanks in advance.


P.S. Although I know that Global Entry is only $85 more, I don't want to spend the extra money since all of my international travel is always with someone who doesn't have GE.

Last edited by am1108; Apr 1, 16 at 10:55 am Reason: Adding info
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Old Apr 1, 16, 11:23 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
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I have Pre-Check and am now trying to get a GOES Clearance as I have moved to world wide team at work.
I was an early TSA PreCheck Adopter and had a few issues, TSA had to work with Delta and AA to iron out. Delta was easier to work the bugs out than AA was, AA at first blamed me, until TSA became involved. Delta however contacted the TSA when I complained to them about not getting Pre-Check.
When I first received my Trusted Traveler Number neither Delta or AA were prepared, thus no Pre-Check for my first few flights. I had to start filling out TSA Complaint Cards everytime I passed through screening, which finally elevated me to a TSA Office who actually runs the program, and a 1 on 1 contact.
It took TSA working with both Airlines to fix their systems to actually pass the Trusted Traveler Number to TSA, the KTN (Global Entry) and TT (Pre-Check) numbers are not in the same format, nor do they have the same number of characters.
Since they fixed their system, I have always received Pre-Check, which at first was great, but now you will notice at some airports there is only Pre-Check lines open at peak periods, and if you are non-peak you get to wait like everyone else.
I have also found that at LAX for some reason everyone in a wheelchair or walker ends up in the Pre-Check line, and you will end up waiting behind them, sometimes longer than if you had gone through the regular line.
If you can, get Global Entry, it is only $15 more. Pre-Check is $85, Global entry is $100 and includes Pre-Check. Pre-Check you don't get a card, just a letter.
When I went with Pre-Check it was due to the lack of a nearby Interview Location for Global Entry (2 hour drive), versus Pre-Check (20 minute drive), looking back I should have driven the 2 hours, but I now squeezed almost 3 years out of it, and my employer pays for both as they want us to be happy.
Usual Suspect is offline  
Old Apr 1, 16, 11:46 am
  #3  
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Originally Posted by Usual Suspect View Post
I have Pre-Check and am now trying to get a GOES Clearance as I have moved to world wide team at work.
I was an early TSA PreCheck Adopter and had a few issues, TSA had to work with Delta and AA to iron out. Delta was easier to work the bugs out than AA was, AA at first blamed me, until TSA became involved. Delta however contacted the TSA when I complained to them about not getting Pre-Check.
When I first received my Trusted Traveler Number neither Delta or AA were prepared, thus no Pre-Check for my first few flights. I had to start filling out TSA Complaint Cards everytime I passed through screening, which finally elevated me to a TSA Office who actually runs the program, and a 1 on 1 contact.
It took TSA working with both Airlines to fix their systems to actually pass the Trusted Traveler Number to TSA, the KTN (Global Entry) and TT (Pre-Check) numbers are not in the same format, nor do they have the same number of characters.
Since they fixed their system, I have always received Pre-Check, which at first was great, but now you will notice at some airports there is only Pre-Check lines open at peak periods, and if you are non-peak you get to wait like everyone else.
I have also found that at LAX for some reason everyone in a wheelchair or walker ends up in the Pre-Check line, and you will end up waiting behind them, sometimes longer than if you had gone through the regular line.
If you can, get Global Entry, it is only $15 more. Pre-Check is $85, Global entry is $100 and includes Pre-Check. Pre-Check you don't get a card, just a letter.
When I went with Pre-Check it was due to the lack of a nearby Interview Location for Global Entry (2 hour drive), versus Pre-Check (20 minute drive), looking back I should have driven the 2 hours, but I now squeezed almost 3 years out of it, and my employer pays for both as they want us to be happy.
Ok, so it seems like (Domestically) there doesn't seem to be a difference whether you get Global Entry or TSA Precheck membership... if that is the case then I may go for GE.

Thank You Usual Suspect
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Old Apr 1, 16, 2:52 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
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Originally Posted by am1108 View Post
I have been interested for a while in joining TSA Precheck although I did have questions:

1) What is the success rate getting TSA Precheck on your boarding pass? I have been a little weary in joining since it seems that if you join it only seems to increase the chance to use Precheck not really have it 100% of the time.

2) Are the TSA Precheck lines always short?

3) Are there any other issues with TSA Precheck that doesn't make it worth buying?


I finally want to make a jump on joining since I was almost late due to a long security line in Reno (about a month ago) and I saw that they had a Precheck line opened (3-4 agents staffing the lane) and about a couple of people went through fairly quickly while the regular line was about 40-50 minutes long. I barely made that flight, in fact they closed the door right after I went through Phew!

Thanks in advance.


P.S. Although I know that Global Entry is only $85 more, I don't want to spend the extra money since all of my international travel is always with someone who doesn't have GE.
1. Since having pre check I have never not gotten it when I got my boarding pass. My membership is through global entry and not just pre check so I don't know if that makes a difference.

2. No, I have seen pre check lanes be pretty long, and they can be slow when they randomly select people to be in the pre check lane who have no idea what they are doing.

3. Global entry is by far the best travel investment I have made. I know you mentioned that you didn't want to spend the extra money, but the extra benefits really are worth it.
Euphonix8 is offline  
Old Apr 1, 16, 2:58 pm
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We've always gotten PreCheck since we enrolled in GE about two years ago. Don't have an exact count but easily 80+ flights.
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Old Apr 1, 16, 3:39 pm
  #6  
 
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I was approved for GE just under two months ago. I've only taken two flights since, but I've had PreCheck both times. Even when the PreCheck line has more people than the general line, I've found it to move faster and not taking off belts, shoes, etc. is worth it even if the times are the same.
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Old Apr 1, 16, 3:42 pm
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I applied for Global Entry to save time clearing Customs, and was automatically enrolled in PreCheck when that started. Nothing is 100%, but if you're careful to add the Known Traveler Number to your reservation (or your profile in a FF program), you'll get the PreCheck line most of the time. It won't work for a lot of departures on foreign carriers, though, like BA departing Seattle.
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Old Apr 1, 16, 4:52 pm
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PreCheck is $85, Global Entry is $100. Once in the program you will get it almost 100% of the time on your boarding pass if the airline you are flying participates in the program.

Whether you go through a PreCheck line is another matter. Further, even with PreCheck and going through the WTMD you can still get random gropes.
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Old Apr 1, 16, 4:53 pm
  #9  
 
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It was fantastic when precheck first came out and was invite-only to frequent flyers. The lines were non-existent then. Lines tend to be a bit longer now, but that is only at major airports during busy times. Otherwise usually pretty quick to get through. As for success, honestly I'm probably at 98-99%. I enrolled 4-5 years ago and gotten it all but maybe 2-3 times. Just make sure you add it to all of your FF accounts. And a couple LCC's don't honor precheck. And I would definitely get GE. It can save you a lot of time at major international gateways.
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Old Apr 1, 16, 5:19 pm
  #10  
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Originally Posted by Euphonix8 View Post
1. Since having pre check I have never not gotten it when I got my boarding pass. My membership is through global entry and not just pre check so I don't know if that makes a difference.

2. No, I have seen pre check lanes be pretty long, and they can be slow when they randomly select people to be in the pre check lane who have no idea what they are doing.

3. Global entry is by far the best travel investment I have made. I know you mentioned that you didn't want to spend the extra money, but the extra benefits really are worth it.
Well, its not really about the extra money, $15 is not a killer but whenever I travel internationally (which is rare, i usually fly domestically), its always with a family member who doesn't have GE, Sentri, etc. and who will probably never enroll anyways so I probably wouldn't get to use Global Entry on the way back.

No. 2 seems to be a concern if it happens often. Now are you able to use non precheck lanes if they are shorter? (Is a flyer strictly bounded to the Precheck lanes if they have it on their BP?)
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Old Apr 1, 16, 5:38 pm
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Really: just get Pre-Check.

It is by far the best travel-related thing I have done. It is vastly better than the "priority" lanes I could previously use due to frequent flier status or class of service, and I've received it every eligible flight.

I only got Pre-Check in late 2015 and I truly, truly cannot figure out why I didn't do it before. Even if you fly once a year-- and I'd go far as to say, once in the five years it's valid-- it is worth it. I've been through in 5 minutes or less every time, too.

If your life has not been complicated (by which I mean, a dizzying number of addresses, etc., which made filling out the GE application kind of terrifying because I didn't want to accidentally lie to the Feds), just do GE for the extra $15 and you're set. And cajole your traveling companions to do the same.
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Old Apr 1, 16, 7:14 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
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I have Global Entry and I'm 100% on getting PreCheck when flying. I fly domestic fairly often and international 1-2x/year.

I typically fly during slow hours so the difference in lines isn't much of a factor for me, but the screening process is lightning quick. It's nice to not drag out your laptop and toiletries every time.

One note: They typically don't have the big rectangular bins in the PreCheck line (since everything stays in your bag) so you'll need to stuff anything that'll set off the metal detector in your carryon ahead of time. They do have the smaller round bins.

The only negative is specific to my home airport PHX: The line is closed about 30% of the time I go through, even during busy times. This is pretty well documented on here if you search for "PHX PreCheck". I haven't had any problems like this at any other airport.

Overall, I'm very happy with it.
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Old Apr 2, 16, 2:04 am
  #13  
 
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I agree with Global Entry being one of the best travel investments (hardly an investment if you get one of a number of credit cards that reimburse you for it). If you travel internationally even just once in a year, you'll be smiling when you get to skip a line with hundreds of passengers at LAX. My PreCheck is through Global Entry and I have never not had it on my boarding pass in the two years I've been in the program. In my 300,000+ miles in the past couple years, I can't recall ever waiting more than a minute or two in a PreCheck line. For instance, Wednesday night at PHX, the main TSA line was completely full. SOOOOO long...and one person who walked ahead of me into PreCheck.
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Old Apr 2, 16, 2:49 am
  #14  
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I get a pre-check stamp on my BP 99% of the time. That's not the problem.

Often the TSA closes precheck lanes. This happens more and more. Precheck is disappearing. And the TSA is stupid about which check points have precheck. For example when arriving at DFW from an international destination in terminal D, the logical thing would be for the nearest check point to have pre-check.

Getting precheck is a waste of money.

Get global entry or NEXUS, either of which comes with precheck in USA, and precheck-like service in Canada.
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Old Apr 2, 16, 9:49 am
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NEXUS is $50 for five years and has got me Precheck 100% of the time on eligible flights (i.e., offered at airport, on eligible airline).
You must attend an interview somewhere along the Canadian border after conditional approval, after which the card is mailed to you. The interview can be adjusted to match your travel schedule, within reason. Best buy of the lot, if the interview logistics work.
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