Speeding up security screening at the airport in the United States just got cheaper! The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has recently announced that the enrollment fee for the program TSA PreCheck has been reduced.
According to the information presented by the agency, passengers interested in applying for the TSA PreCheck program will now pay $78 instead of $85 for the five-year membership. And those who want to renew their membership are required to pay $70 through the online process—the renewal fee stays the same.
The update arrives right before the busy holiday season. TSA Administrator David Pekoske said: “For individuals and families with plans to fly this holiday season, now is the time to enroll or renew in TSA PreCheck.”
At the worst airport for TSA security wait times—like Miami International Airport where the average wait time is almost 25 minutes—, travelers can save a lot of time and reach their destinations more comfortably. The data shared by the TSA indicates that during September this year 93% of TSA PreCheck passengers waited less than 5 minutes at airport security checkpoints.
This program can help travelers reduce stress and avoid missing flights while waiting in long TSA lines that are frequent despite the new technology implemented. If you are unsure about whether you should enroll for TSA Pre-check or not, here you’ll find more details of the program and a recap of its benefits and advantages:
TSA PreCheck Benefits
The TSA Pre-check program allows travelers to go through special security lines at more than 200 airports in the United States along with over 85 participating airlines. As Pekoske said: “TSA PreCheck offers significant benefits to those who meet its enrollment standards – less physical contact, fewer items on the conveyor belt, and faster screening.”
To enroll in the program for the first time, U.S. citizens or U.S. nationals and lawful permanent residents can request an appointment at one of the enrollment centers nationwide —there are over 500— where they will be interviewed and will have to provide biometric and biographic information. Once the interview is over, travelers should receive their Known Traveler Number (KTN) within less than a week. With the KTN customers get identified and allowed to use the special fast lanes.
These are the main benefits:
- Go through special and faster TSA security lines in more than 200 airports. The average wait time is less than 5 minutes.
- You do not need to remove shoes, belts, or light jackets, and you can keep electronics and 3-1-1 compliant liquids in your bag.
- The membership lasts 5 years, once the traveler is enrolled, they can easily renew online.
- Some airlines and credit cards offer discounts or even offer customers the service for free. For example, United Airlines allows customers in their frequent flier program to use United MileagePlus to cover the application fee.
- Children 12 and under can join parents or guardians in special TSA PreCheck lines.
Even for travelers who only travel a couple of times a year, it’s a great opportunity to ease the travel experience and avoid long wait times. And certain citizens could already have access to this benefit through their banks or frequent flyer membership programs.
TSA Pre-Check Alternatives
There are other programs that can also speed up the travel experience like Global Entry and Clear. But these can be a little more expensive.
Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection that already includes the TSA PreCheck program and adds an extra perk: faster U.S. customs screening. It’s also a great alternative, especially for travelers who enjoy visiting distant lands—not ideal for those traveling only within the U.S. This service cost $100 for five years.
Clear, on the other side, has an annual membership that costs $189. This service does not include TSA PreCheck, is available in over 60 airports and it offers travelers an ultrafast airport security screening since it uses only eyes and fingertips to identify travelers. Clear also recently launched a free service to skip TSA lines using a reservation system at certain airports.
Is $78 Worth It For TSA- Pre Check?
The newly reduced $78 fee for a 5-year membership works out to be just $15.60 per year, which is a very affordable way to clear security faster. If you fly even 2 times per year, that’s only $6.30 per visit. Those who fly more than 6 times a year, the membership works out to just cents per visit, making it super valueable.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com