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TSA Precheck

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Last year when we flew to New Orleans for our cruise it was the first time that we had flown for many years.  At our home airport my wife got a random TSA Precheck, but I didn't.  On the way back we both got it.  For our flights this year we both got TSA Precheck both directions.  It's pretty convenient and I'm considering going ahead and signing up for it.

 

Since we have both gotten random TSA Precheck in the recent past can we expect to keep receiving it?

We have already booked flights for our cruise next year.  Is there a way to tell if we get TSA Precheck now or do we have to wait until our boarding passes are printed off at the airport?

 

Thanks!

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Posted (edited)

If it's random, there's no way that I know of to tell until you check in. I have heard that TSA is starting to reduce the number of "random" people getting it, so it's going to be an odds game if you don't want to pay for it.

 

In my opinion, if you're going to fly as rarely as you appear to, $85/year (times two people) wouldn't be worth it to me to save just a little time/frustration once or twice a year. But of course, everyone's priorities are different.

 

One thing to note - you can find out quicker if you check in online, rather than waiting until you get to the airport. You could check in online, via computer or mobile device, and that will show you a boarding pass and you can see if it has TSA Pre on it. You don't necessarily need to print that boarding pass off until you get to the airport, but you will know ahead of time if you have TSA Pre.

Edited by Zach1213

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While they say it's random, I strongly suspect that a lot of the non-pay Pre is about trying to manage line length at different airports and anticipate and prevent bad slowdowns. Before I paid for Pre (turned out to be WEP for us given our flying patterns and the small amount it effectively adds to the cost of each ticket) I'd typically get it for bigger busier airports struggling with line time like  when I was trying to get out of Boston the day after the marathon and I'd never get it at my wee home airport. 

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27 minutes ago, Zach1213 said:

 

 

In my opinion, if you're going to fly as rarely as you appear to, $85/year (times two people) wouldn't be worth it to me to save just a little time/frustration once or twice a year. But of course, everyone's priorities are different.

 

 

That's what I told my wife when she mentioned TSA Precheck before our first cruise.  lol  It is convenient, though.  My dad always used to say "We aren't going on a vacation to save money", and in my adult life I agree with this.  I have done my best to pass this little pearl of wisdom to my stepkids.  An average of $34 per year to (hopefully) save a little frustration at the airport sounds pretty good to me now that I have experienced it.

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I believe it's $85 for FIVE years, not one.   You would be better off getting a Global Entry at $100 per person, also valid for 5 years.   It allows for international travel, plus still the domestic travel, and makes international travel way easier.

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Just now, alidor said:

I believe it's $85 for FIVE years, not one.   You would be better off getting a Global Entry at $100 per person, also valid for 5 years.   It allows for international travel, plus still the domestic travel, and makes international travel way easier.

 

You're right, it is $85 for five years, I misspoke. I do personally think Global Entry is a much better deal, but only if it's easy to get...often, Global Entry requires going somewhere for an interview that is further afield than a PreCheck interview, so it may not be realistic.

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Pretty sure that as your age increases your chances for Pre (free) increase.  Seems that I read that somewhere....no time to look it up right now.

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11 hours ago, Zach1213 said:

 

You're right, it is $85 for five years, I misspoke. I do personally think Global Entry is a much better deal, but only if it's easy to get...often, Global Entry requires going somewhere for an interview that is further afield than a PreCheck interview, so it may not be realistic.

 

Yeah. We live in small metro Florida and if we wanted to get Pre for the 4-6 domestic flights before our next planned international trip that would let us do the GE interview on arrival it would have involved an overnight trip to an interview site with no space on the schedule until after at least one of those planned domestic flights.

 

In contrast, the same firms that has the contract for Pre interviews also has a number of other background check contracts with the feds, and we were able to go from first application to Pre approval in two business days by getting our fingerprints done at a semi-local office an hour down the beach that also does things like background checks for truckers who haul hazardous and nuclear waste

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Not sure what carrier you were using but before we got our TSA PreCheck we seemed to both get it if we were on the same record locator....which we always were. 

Our TSA is getting ready to expire and now feel a trip to LAX for Global Entry will be the better option.

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19 hours ago, alidor said:

I believe it's $85 for FIVE years, not one.   You would be better off getting a Global Entry at $100 per person, also valid for 5 years.   It allows for international travel, plus still the domestic travel, and makes international travel way easier.

 

Just to clarify for anyone who may not be as familiar with it, when Alidor says GE "allows for international travel" what that means is that GE is a program to expedite immigration and customs upon return to the US.  It has nothing to do with getting through security.  Now, if you get GE it comes with TSA Precheck as a bonus, but as it's a US government program, it is only applicable for security at US airports, not foreign airports.

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To add, a valid passport is required for Global Entry.  It is not required for TSA Pre.  This might be important to some who are considering enrollment in one of these programs.  

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2 hours ago, waterbug123 said:

 

Just to clarify for anyone who may not be as familiar with it, when Alidor says GE "allows for international travel" what that means is that GE is a program to expedite immigration and customs upon return to the US.  It has nothing to do with getting through security.  Now, if you get GE it comes with TSA Precheck as a bonus, but as it's a US government program, it is only applicable for security at US airports, not foreign airports.

Actually, not true. Global Entry is part of the worldwide "Known Traveler" system. Having a GE card can get you into higher priority (read, typically, "faster") Immigration lines in other countries (reports here on Cruise Critic), as well as security lines (personal experience). 

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1 hour ago, CruiserBruce said:

Actually, not true. Global Entry is part of the worldwide "Known Traveler" system. Having a GE card can get you into higher priority (read, typically, "faster") Immigration lines in other countries (reports here on Cruise Critic), as well as security lines (personal experience). 

 

It only works at airports with pre-clearance centers.  A pre-clearance center means you go through US Customs & Immigration at the departure airport and arrive in the US as if you were on a domestic flight.  Here is the list of Airports with Global Entry Kiosks.

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1 hour ago, CruiserBruce said:

as well as security lines (personal experience). 

 

I have never experienced expedited security lines in other countries with Global Entry as it is a US system.  I would be interested to hear of the details of your personal experience.  

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2 hours ago, *Miss G* said:

 

I have never experienced expedited security lines in other countries with Global Entry as it is a US system.  I would be interested to hear of the details of your personal experience.  

Toronto. As you enter the security check area, you will see lines that are for "Known Traveler" people. My GE card got me into that security line. This is before the process of pre-clearance into the US. This is essentially "TSA Pre" in Canada.

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59 minutes ago, CruiserBruce said:

Toronto. As you enter the security check area, you will see lines that are for "Known Traveler" people. My GE card got me into that security line. This is before the process of pre-clearance into the US. This is essentially "TSA Pre" in Canada.

 

Thank you.  It looks like this is limited to Canada’s pre-clearance airports at the moment.

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8 minutes ago, alidor said:

You can use this in Dublin as well.

 

“This” as in the pre-clearance center or the security line?

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9 minutes ago, alidor said:

You can use this in Dublin as well.

Which? Pre-clearance, or Known Traveler security line?

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The examples of GE getting you priority screen at pre-clearance airports is because you go direct from the priority screening to the GE kiosks.  It's one direct line - screening to GE.  It's more a function of queue management at the airports where you have pre-clearance.

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29 minutes ago, FlyerTalker said:

The examples of GE getting you priority screen at pre-clearance airports is because you go direct from the priority screening to the GE kiosks.  It's one direct line - screening to GE.  It's more a function of queue management at the airports where you have pre-clearance.

 

Thanks.  This makes perfect sense.

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4 hours ago, *Miss G* said:

 

Thanks.  This makes perfect sense.

 

Remember that you will need to show the GE card to the screening staff at the entrance to the security line, at least at Canada airports. The card is not needed at the GE kiosks.

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20 hours ago, CruiserBruce said:

Actually, not true. Global Entry is part of the worldwide "Known Traveler" system. Having a GE card can get you into higher priority (read, typically, "faster") Immigration lines in other countries (reports here on Cruise Critic), as well as security lines (personal experience). 

 

But that is a rather limited situation, depending on the airport.  With just a few exceptions, having GE isn't a means of expediting security outside the US.

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