TSA Pre – My First Time & Why I Waited So Long


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TSA has a great new program that lets you breeze through security by keeping your shoes on, leaving the laptop in the bag, and avoiding the nude-o-scope. I have always been interested in the program but hadn’t tried it until today.

My First Time

Today was my first time going through TSA Pre and it was a pleasure.

I was so excited with how much nicer the process is than the other security lanes. The agent scanned my boarding pass at the entrance of the TSA Pre line and I was off for the expedited screening.

First of all, the line was shorter than the elite member line and well short of the normal line.

Next up was the metal detector and the scanners. I didn’t have to take my shoes off, left my liquids and computer in the bag, and best of all, I didn’t have to worry about getting the enhanced pat-down or have my picture taken in the nude-o-scope for ‘training’ purposes.

The process to go through security took about ten minutes. It made the trip to get to the SkyClub so quick and easy.

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Why I Waited

For some time I’ve been wanting to try out TSA Pre. It wasn’t that I wanted the first time to be special, I had already added my Nexus ID to all of my frequent flyer programs. I was just waiting for the right opportunity when TSA Pre or something to that effect was printed on my boarding pass.

I don’t know why I was thinking I had to wait for language on my boarding pass.

It turns out, I learned that the words won’t be printed on your boarding pass. A friend told me that since I had already been cleared for the program, all I had to do was just walk up and scan my boarding pass.

The first time through the enhanced TSA Pre scanning was a breeze. The upgrade cleared early, I was scanned into the TSA Pre line, and was through screening in about five minutes.

How To Get TSA Pre

You must meet certain criteria which can be found at TSA’s website. If you are already a NEXUS, Global Entry or SENTRI member, you can add that member ID to your airline’s “Known Traveler Number” in your profile.

On Delta, you can navigate to Profile>About Me and add your NEXUS, Global Entry or SENTRI number to your known traveler number.

Bottom Line

TSA Pre saves time. If you don’t already have TSA Pre and Global Entry / Nexus I would highly recomend the programs.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed on this site are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

About The Weekly Flyer

The Weekly Flyer writes about travel from a business traveler perspective. He travels the world every week accumulating points and miles along the way. Feel free to reach me at theweeklyflyer@gmail.com

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Comments

  1. You won’t be selected every time for the expedited line, TSA wants it to still be “random”. I’m about 3/6 at DTW so far.

  2. This is the most blatantly racist and biased program to be introduced in decades. For the past year TSA has insisted that everyone must be subjected to the same security procedures, whether a child, elderly grandmother or US Senator. Now they are allowing the privileged buy their way out of the screening process.

    TSA is tacitly saying that the wealthy are “more equal” than others. Those chosen for the program will almost exclusively consist of wealthy, mostly white passengers. Minorities and low income travelers will bear the brunt of these practices while the rich skirt them. This makes no sense from a security perspective since many terrorists, including Bin Laden, have been wealthy.

    This state sponsored extortion will establish a mechanism to allow arbitrary profiling of passengers in the future which could include Muslims, Latinos or African-Americans.

    If someone can buy their way out of screening then this is no more than security theater and passenger harassment. Congress must demand that TSA adopt consistent, sensible and respectful procedures for everyone, not just the privileged.

  3. How do you enter your number on your Delta profile? Did you just add your 9 digit number, or AX(your#)US?

    Thank you.

  4. @ Fisher1949

    I believe you do not have all the facts regarding this program. Global Entry/Nexus is open to anyone. The cost is $100 for a five year enrollment. I suspect anyone capable of buying airplane tickets is probably able to spend $20/year on Global Entry. Global entry is designed for frequent travelers, so someone who only travels by air once a year probably would not much benefit.

    As to your comments that this program allows “the priviliged to buy their way out” of screening, let me assure you that you are incorrect. In order to gain a Nexus card, which then included Global Entry, I had to submit an extensive amount of data to the government, who then did a full background check on me. Because Nexus is a joint USA/Canadian program, all of my data was also submitted to the Canadian government, who did a full background check on me as well. Then I had to meet with Customs and Border Patrol agents for an interview and fingerprinting. FAR from “bypassing” security screening, I have been super-screened.

    The super-screening of Global Entry was originally intended to help US citizens who frequently travel abroad. Global Entry was designed to allow them faster lanes at immigration control/passport check. The government realized that these background-checked, fingerprinted individuals could also benefit from expedited screening in airports. We still go through metal detectors, our bags are still x-rayed, and I was even randomly chosen for a chemical check on a recent flight.

    So rather than cry “racist” when travel becomes a little better for people who take the time to be pre-screened, consider getting prescreened yourself. As a bonus, their is a cost loophole: although Global Entry costs $100 for five years, Nexus costs $50 for five years and comes with Global Entry. Crazy, but true. The drawback to Nexus is that you have to be interviewed at a spot with Canadian CBP agents, like Detroit. Still, it will save you $50 until the government figures out that loophole and closes it.

  5. @ MM

    Just enter the 9 digit number in the “Trusted Traveler” box on your Delta profile. No additional letters or numbers.

  6. @ Thomas 199023

    If you have a USA Global Entry trusted traveler number, you can probably use it at US airport TSA Precheck security, with a couple of caveats:

    1. Maybe you can’t. I don’t know for sure.

    2. You can only use it at airports that have TSA Precheck. see: http://www.tsa.gov/what_we_do/escreening.shtm

    3. Most importantly, you can only use TSA Precheck security lines when you are flying with an airline that knows your Trusted Traveler number. The airline will only know it if you tell them (enter it in your profile on their website). Also, only some airlines are involved in the program. The ones I know who use it are: Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta, United, and US. Perhaps there are others, but I don’t know of them. So, if I am flying Delta out of Detroit, I can use TSA Precheck because Delta has my Trusted Traveler number and imbeds it in the UPC code on my boarding pass. When the security guy scans my boarding pass, he directs me to the expedited security line. If I am traveling out of Detroit on Frontier Airlines, I am in the normal security line, as Frontier is not involved in the program. (I like Frontier, by the way. Great airline. I am NOT bashing Frontier. I am just stating the fact that they are not in the Precheck program at the moment.)

    The best way to find out if you can use TSA Precheck is to enter your information in your profile on with AA, Delta, and United. Then, when you are flying with one of those airlines from an airport with TSA Precheck screening, walk up to that line and have the agent scan your ticket. If it works, awesome! If not, the agent will direct you to another line, no takedown nor handcuffs required. 🙂

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