Previous trips to the airport have been, as we all know, nightmares of waiting on this line or that, luggage or security, stripping off jackets, belts, shoes, and possibly losing our wallet, watch or jewelry in the process.
This can all be behind you. All it takes is a (fairly) painless trip to the TSA office and $85 to get your TSA Pre-Check status. What does this get you?
Premier Access on your boarding pass and a five minute trip through the security line. Honest, no kidding, five minutes.
You don’t have to take off your shoes, your belt, or your jacket nor do you have to heave out your laptop or your 3-1-1 compliant bag (those little bottles of things you must have).
Most important, you do NOT have to stand on that endless security line; you get ushered graciously through right up to the x-ray machines and pass through with nary a comment.
Not believing completely in this amazing process, we left so much time to get through security that we had an hour and a half before boarding–just enough time to find a decent restaurant at Newark Airport. The return trip through LAX was just as good, although that is one crazy airport.
Is it worth it–well, it changed our airport experience from totally negative to totally positive. You do have to be finger-printed and presumably, if you have robbed a bank recently you might not get it, but if all you have are a couple of a parking tickets in your distant past, you’ll probably receive your clearance. I think mature years probably help, too.
Most major airports have or are getting it and it works everywhere they do.
Once you get your precious letter, inscribe your new number on anything and everything–your airline profile, your tickets, your forehead if necessary, although it was printed nice and big right on our boarding passes. This is your passport to a relaxed and pleasant beginning and end of your vacation. Go to http://www.tsa.gov/tsa-precheck to find the office near you and to apply. Leave about six weeks before your next trip to be inscribed in the program; you won’t regret it. Yes, you will still have to go through the x-ray machine but you will leave with your dignity intact.