PreCheck Fast Security: How to Join, What it Costs, What's the Catch

You may have heard the TSA is expanding its PreCheck airport security program by adding another 60 airports, but judging by media reports there’s still some confusion. You know you keep your shoes on, but do you know about the catches?

7 strangest things found by TSA

FareCompare hopes to clear this up: Learn what PreCheck does (and doesn’t do), what it costs, how you can join, and see the list of all 100 participating airports below.

How PreCheck is Faster

PreCheck promises a more streamlined airport security screening experience for travelers by offering the following perks:

  • Use of dedicated PreCheck lanes
  • Shoes, belts and jackets stay on
  • Laptops can remain in cases
  • Liquids (still in the plastic bags) can stay in carry-on baggage

What’s the catch?

  • Just because an airport is part of the PreCheck program doesn’t mean the entire facility offers faster security lines. Click here to see the specific terminals offering PreCheck at your airport.
  • PreCheck does not guarantee faster security. You can still be pulled for standard screening because of the TSA’s layered approach to security which may involve random checks.

What PreCheck Costs

PreCheck costs $85 to join but what a lot of media reports don’t say is that this fee is good for five years. In other words, travelers pay just $17 per year. After that, you reapply and presumably pay another fee (though it’s not clear whether the TSA has worked out such details yet). The money goes to the TSA for administrative costs associated with the program.

What’s the catch?

None that we could find.

Who lost a shrunken head at the airport?

How to Join PreCheck

There are three ways to join.

  • Fill out an application – Participants must also submit to identity verification and fingerprinting which typically requires a visit to a TSA office at the airport
  • Get an invitation from your airline – If you are an elite miles program member from the following airlines you may be invited to join PreCheck at no cost to you: Alaska, American, Delta, Hawaiian, United, US Airways and Virgin America
  • Join a trusted traveler program – U.S. Customs and Border Protections offers a variety of trusted traveler programs including Global Entry and you can apply for one of those here. Note: Cost of Global Entry is $100 (so you might want to wait until the PreCheck application process goes ‘live’).

What’s the catch?

At the moment, the TSA’s online application process for PreCheck does not seem to exist – yet. All it says on the security agency’s site is that it is coming in the “fall of 2013.”

Current and New PreCheck Airports

Airports with an asterisk are already in the program – the others are expected to be integrated into PreCheck by year’s end. Source: TSA.

Alabama:

Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport

Alaska:

Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport*

Arizona:

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport* – Tucson International Airport

Arkansas:

Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport (Little Rock)

California:

Bob Hope Airport (Burbank) – Fresno Yosemite International Airport – John Wayne Airport (Orange County)* – Long Beach Airport – Los Angeles International Airport* – Oakland International Airport – Ontario International Airport – Sacramento International Airport – San Diego International Airport – San Francisco International Airport* – San Jose International Airport

Colorado:

Colorado Springs Airport – Denver International Airport*

Connecticut:

Bradley International Airport (Hartford)

Florida:

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport* – Jacksonville International Airport – Miami International Airport* – Orlando International Airport* – Palm Beach International Airport (West Palm Beach) – Pensacola International Airport – Southwest Florida International Airport (Fort Myers) – Tampa International Airport*

Georgia:

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport* – Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport

Guam:

Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport (Hagåtña)

Hawaii:

Honolulu International Airport* – Kahului Airport Kona International Airport – Lihue Airport

Idaho:

Boise Airport

Illinois:

Chicago Midway International Airport – Chicago O’Hare International Airport*

Indiana:

Indianapolis International Airport*

Iowa:

Des Moines International Airport

Kansas:

Wichita Mid-Continent Airport

Kentucky:

Louisville International Airport

Louisiana:

Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport

Maine:

Portland International Jetport

Maryland:

Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport*

Massachusetts:

Boston Logan International Airport*

Michigan:

Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport* – Gerald R. Ford International Airport (Grand Rapids)

Minnesota:

Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport*

Missouri:

Kansas City International Airport – Lambert-St. Louis International Airport*

Nebraska:

Eppley Airfield (Omaha)

Nevada:

McCarran International Airport (Las Vegas)* – Reno-Tahoe International Airport

New Hampshire:

Manchester-Boston Regional Airport

New Jersey:

Newark Liberty International Airport*

New Mexico:

Albuquerque International Sunport

New York:

Albany International Airport – Buffalo Niagara International Airport – Greater Rochester International Airport – John F. Kennedy International Airport (New York City)* – LaGuardia Airport (New York City)* – Syracuse Hancock International Airport – Westchester County Airport

North Carolina:

Charlotte-Douglas International Airport* – Piedmont Triad International Airport (Greensboro) – Raleigh-Durham International Airport*

Ohio:

Akron-Canton Airport Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport* – Cleveland Hopkins International Airport* – Dayton International Airport – Port Columbus International Airport

Oklahoma:

Tulsa International Airport – Will Rogers World Airport (Oklahoma City)

Oregon:

Portland International Airport*

Pennsylvania:

Philadelphia International Airport* – Pittsburgh International Airport*

Puerto Rico:

Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (San Juan)*

Rhode Island:

T. F. Green Airport (Providence)

South Carolina:

Charleston International Airport – Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport – Myrtle Beach International Airport

Tennessee:

McGhee Tyson Airport (Knoxville) – Memphis International Airport* – Nashville International Airport*

Texas:

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport* – Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport* – Dallas Love Field – El Paso International Airport – George Bush Intercontinental Airport (Houston)* – San Antonio International Airport – William P. Hobby Airport (Houston)

Utah:

Salt Lake City International Airport*

Virginia:

Norfolk International Airport – Richmond International Airport – Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport* – Washington Dulles International Airport*

Washington:

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport* – Spokane International Airport

Wisconsin:

Dane County Regional Airport (Madison) – General Mitchell International Airport (Milwaukee)

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Published: September 5, 2013