I recently applied for PreCheck – the federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) effort to reduce wait times at airport checkpoints. I had thought about doing it ever since the program was instituted – but just had not gotten around to it.
As a general rule I am not a procrastinator, so when the thought crossed my mind once again after reading a recent article in the Sacramento Bee about the opening of a new PreCheck office at the Sacramento International Airport, I decided to take action.
The online application form does not take long to fill out. As part of the application process you choose the TSA office you want to appear at – in person – and set up an appointment. The first appointment I was offered was three weeks out – but that worked for me.
I decided to make my appointment at the Hurley Way office. Tip: It is not obvious at first – but the PreCheck office is located inside the H.R. Block office that is located in the front of the building.
The online PreCheck application form stresses the necessity that the names on your approved form of identification exactly match the name on your application. Note: The PreCheck application form asks for your middle name – not an initial. From now on I will have to use my full name when making airline reservations – but that is no hardship.
The PreCheck program involves a criminal background check and getting fingerprinted. The application questionnaire advises you, if you answer certain questions in the affirmative, to cancel your application. While I was in the PreCheck office I was asked if I understood that my application fee was not refundable. Check.
Just a week after my appointment I received an e-mail informing me that I qualified for expedited processing. I was advised how to secure my Known Traveler Number (KTN) online.
You are led to believe by what you read online that airline reservations made before you acquire a KTN do not qualify for PreCheck – but I have found that to be inaccurate. All you have to do is call up the airline and give them your KTN. In my case I also had to change the name on my boarding pass to include my full middle name.
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The advantage of becoming an approved PreCheck flyer is that you are allowed to use a separate line at airport checkpoints where you do not have to take off your shoes or belt or remove laptops from their cases. I am sure that all of us have been at one time or another behind fellow travelers who seemed clueless – and thus held up the line.
Hopefully having a KTN will make traveling more pleasant. If it does, the $85.00 cost for five years seems reasonable.
Let’s face it – 9/11 and numerous tragic events in the following years have made this our new reality.
Comments on PreCheck?
Have you signed up for PreCheck? Have you found that PreCheck provides an advantage time wise and frustration wise when you fly?