TSA Pre-Check is a pretty awesome program that takes us back a bit over 10 years, and by that I mean to the days of hassle free security. Yes, you’re still subject to the ridiculous liquids ban, but at least you get to leave your shoes on and can leave your laptop and liquids in your bag. They even recently improved the program by making international itineraries eligible for Pre-Check, which wasn’t the case prior to that.
Up until now the two ways to enroll for TSA Pre-Check have been either directly through an airline’s frequent flyer program (typically limited to elite members) or to be enrolled in Global Entry, SENTRI, or NEXUS.
Later this year the TSA will add a third method to be eligible for TSA Pre-Check, and that’s by enrolling directly in the Pre-Check program. US citizens will be able to apply online and visit an enrollment site to provide identification and fingerprints. Initially there will be two enrollment sites — one at Indianapolis Airport (yeah, I know, WTF?) and one at Washington Dulles Airport, with plans to expand the program later on. The catch is that a five year enrollment will cost $85.
While the idea is nice in theory, enrolling through Global Entry if you have a credit card that waives the fee is still a much better deal. If paying out of pocket the best deal remains applying for NEXUS, which costs just $50, and makes you eligible for Global Entry and TSA Pre-Check.
So I suppose this is a nice idea for someone that’s not an airline elite and doesn’t have a passport. But with the limited enrollment centers to start and high fees, I doubt many people will take advantage of this.