I’m hoping to start traveling again. This year I’m booked for San Francisco and Washington DC. Maybe a couple of road trips. And next spring I’m going on a Polar Cruise. Hopefully we won’t be mixed up in a world war by then. Having lived in Russia for many years and the last one under Putin, I actually really feel for the Russians. As well as the Ukrainians. It seems like most of the Russians I know have some kind of Ukrainian connection. Does that feed into Putin’s narrative? I didn’t mean to. Ugh.
I digress. Back to traveling. I decided the best plan would be to apply for the TSA Pre-check. It costs $85 and is good for five years. It gives you a special shorter line at airport security checkpoints in the USA. You get your documents checked and then when you hit the scanners you don’t have to take your shoes off (why are we still doing that?). You can leave your electronics in your carry-on. And your liquids can stay in your bag. It’s amazing what a difference that can make. I have had random Pre-check before and I appreciated it.
To apply for TSA Pre-check, I had to fill out a form and answer some questions online. Then I was told to go for an interview. I set one up at the airport nearest me. I was instructed to go early because the interview station was beyond the security checkpoint. Since I didn’t have a plane ticket I had to get a Gate Pass from the Special Services Counter.
Once I found a parking space and figured out how to get from there to the main terminal, I had a Gate Pass and was through security in no time. I wouldn’t call what I had an interview. I had to confirm my address and a couple of other things. Then I got finger printed and photographed. I think the main point of the exercise was to hand over my credit card.
There you have it. Now just to wait until they send me my special number.
There is also something called Global Entry that will expedite your trip through passport control on arriving into the USA. You can scan your passport and breeze on through past all the tired people standing in line. It costs $100 and also lasts for five years. Plus it includes the TSA Pre-check so it might be worth it if you travel a lot overseas. Since I probably won’t be doing that more than once or twice a year, I figured it wasn’t worth the trouble. It looked more complicated. But it probably isn’t, I think the process is basically the same. I made my decision and I’m sticking by it. I’m usually not in a big rush to get home, anyway.
This is an interesting website belonging to TSA that provides the number of people that go through security on any given day compared to other years. May 1, 2020 (pandemic) – 170,254; May 1, 2022 – 2,263,646. Wow, big difference.
Just one other point of interest. If you have a credit card that gives you mileage, it might reimburse you for the Pre-check fee. Check with your credit card company. My Delta Amex will reimburse me. Yay!