Travel Planning

My Favorite Travel Tool for Flying with Children: TSA PreCheck

TSA PreCheck how I love you. Let me count the ways. I’ve had it for a year now and I can tell you definitively that it is worth its weight in gold if you have young children.

How and Why to get TSA PreCheck with Kids

Why TSA Precheck?

Here’s why you should click over to the TSA website right now if you have young children:

  1. Family members under the age of 12 on your booking are automatically given TSA PreCheck. In my personal experience, everyone on my reservation gets it! They only promise for kids under 12 though.
  2. You don’t have to remove your shoes or your laptop. When I travel alone with both kids I wear sneakers to make sure I can keep up with them and be comfortable all day. Removing these is not something I can do while carrying K and holding HJ’s hand, so why not just skip that step?
  3. Less time standing in line means more time for the kids to run wild at the gate before being cooped up on the plane. On several occasions I’ve taken the kids through Pre while my husband went through the regular line and we’ve had an extra half hour on the other side. This is huge.
  4. Once approved, you will have PreCheck status for 5 years. That’s 5 years of set-and-forget. You just need to enter your Known Traveller Number (KTN) every time you make a reservation.

 

How to Get TSA PreCheck?

So now you’re convinced right? Here’s what you do next.

  1. Visit the TSA website, click “Apply Now”
  2. There will be several pages of application. Be sure to carefully fill in all the information so it matches your passport or driver’s license exactly. You will need to provide:
    1. Basic information such as name and address.
    2. Previous address information if you’ve been at your current location less then 5 years.
    3. Height and weight.
    4. Questions related to criminal record.
    5. Previous/maiden names. If you have these, you may be asked to bring additional documentation to your appointment, such as a marriage certificate.
  3. Select which office you prefer for your in-person screening and the best time slot available.
  4. Show up for your appointment as scheduled. They will verify your documents, take your fingerprints, and collect $85 payment. My appointment took less then 5 minutes!
  5. Wait for your KTN to come with your approval and start skipping the line! 🙂

 

It’s really not hard! While I was writing this I applied for my husband and his appointment is set for a few weeks from now. If you have kids and travel a few times a year, it’s absolutely worth it. If you don’t have kids, it’s nice, but I’m not trying to get more people in that line. 😉

 

What do you think?