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  1. #1
    Forum Member jool's Avatar
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    TSA Pre-check lines in the US?

    Hi, does anyone know if TSA Pre-Check gets its own line through security? Like, do I need to wait in the long security line corral with everyone else, then get a smaller screening line, or do I get to bypass the long security line to a smaller line, then get a smaller screening line too?

  2. #2
    Forum Member melminimalist's Avatar
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    It has it’s own line. I stare longingly at it as I get into the super long regular line.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    "Not all who wander are lost"
    "Love people, use things, because the opposite never works" - The Minimalists
    Synapse 25 in Olive, Aubergine Side Effect, UV A30 PCBP, Sitka PCSB

  3. #3
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    In most big or midsize airports, it's a dedicated line, though it can sometimes still be very long.

  4. #4
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    You can google ahead of time to see what the options are at your airports (which terminals, hours, etc)... be aware that some small airports don't offer TSA Pre-check at all, so you have to be in the regular line and follow all those rules usually (shoes, laptops, etc.) - depends on the airport.

    There is a 'My TSA' app you can download that also shows crowd sourced wait times.

    ETA: And it's obviously too late now to do this for the holidays, but for those folks who are eligible, Global Entry (which includes TSA Pre-Check) is a better value if you think you'll go international at all in the next five years.
    I like all the blues and greys...and all the happy citrus colours too!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by G42 View Post
    ETA: And it's obviously too late now to do this for the holidays, but for those folks who are eligible, Global Entry (which includes TSA Pre-Check) is a better value if you think you'll go international at all in the next five years.
    And if your international travel is mostly to Canada, then Nexus is a better value yet! Nexus is only $50 and includes TSA Pre-Check, but you have to have an initial interview at a US/Canada border crossing station. (I took a bus up to Montreal for mine. It's true Montreal isn't on the border, but the airport has a Nexus office.)

  6. #6
    Forum Member jool's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone! I just downloaded the My TSA app and it lists whether or not there are TSA Pre-check lanes open.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by G42 View Post
    ....

    ETA: And it's obviously too late now to do this for the holidays, but for those folks who are eligible, Global Entry (which includes TSA Pre-Check) is a better value if you think you'll go international at all in the next five years.
    Thanks for the tip. I was pleasantly surprised that if I ever fly domestic I can get through with less hassle. It's not the lines that bother me, it's emptying out my pockets for those scanners and putting my passport and wallet at risk of someone walking off with my bag - in the USA we don't have claim checks like in some countries. For the Global Line at SFO it's just a metal detector (with random additional screening of course, but random means not often).

    What's cool is in SFO you can do "interview on arrival" instead of booking a separate grip to the TSA office in the terminal for the final step.

    You just arrive at SFO (and hopefully other airports) on your return overseas flight, and follow the signs to the "interview on arrival" line. There wasn't any actual interview in the "talking to me" sense, just fingerprinting and photographing. There were only two people ahead of me for the processing, which took place at the same station we usually show our passports to the ICE agent. I wish the card lasted longer, though.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkWebb View Post

    What's cool is in SFO you can do "interview on arrival" instead of booking a separate grip to the TSA office in the terminal for the final step.

    You just arrive at SFO (and hopefully other airports) on your return overseas flight, and follow the signs to the "interview on arrival" line. There wasn't any actual interview in the "talking to me" sense, just fingerprinting and photographing. There were only two people ahead of me for the processing, which took place at the same station we usually show our passports to the ICE agent. I wish the card lasted longer, though.
    Yeah, that 'interview on arrival' is a cool new feature - wasn't available when I got mine... had to BART all the way out to SFO for my final interview. I travel for work and personal though, so the Pre-check feature is great for all the reasons you mention and it's usually much faster.
    Last year I went to Ecuador for a personal trip and the Global Entry was a breeze - no line through Customs, it was amazing.
    I like all the blues and greys...and all the happy citrus colours too!

  9. #9
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    Wow, I didn't realize that there were airports without TSA Pre-Check. For some reason, I assumed they all had it.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by NClens View Post
    Wow, I didn't realize that there were airports without TSA Pre-Check. For some reason, I assumed they all had it.
    I flew into Yuma, AZ earlier this year...it's a super tiny airport, basically one gate/line, no pre-check... they gave me a plastic card saying I was pre-check and I do a hybrid of what had to be removed and what didn't ...
    I like all the blues and greys...and all the happy citrus colours too!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jool View Post
    Thanks everyone! I just downloaded the My TSA app and it lists whether or not there are TSA Pre-check lanes open.
    Waving hello as a fellow San Jose member. Speaking locally, I've found that the San Jose airport usually does have a separate pre-check line. Sometimes they merge pre-check with the regular line if it's early in the morning or late at night, but the dedicated line is usually available.
    --Amanda

    Packing and gadget geek, collecting bags to disperse to my family.

  12. #12
    Forum Member Lani's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aedifica View Post
    And if your international travel is mostly to Canada, then Nexus is a better value yet! Nexus is only $50 and includes TSA Pre-Check, but you have to have an initial interview at a US/Canada border crossing station. (I took a bus up to Montreal for mine. It's true Montreal isn't on the border, but the airport has a Nexus office.)
    Actually what most people want is not TSA PreCheck, but Global Entry. Global Entry costs $100 for five years (versus $80 for five years of Precheck), and, like Nexus, INCLUDES Precheck.

    If you think you might travel just once overseas, Global Entry is a game changer. When you return back to the U.S., rather than stand in a long queue, you walk to an electronic kiosk that looks like an ATM. You provide your handprint/fingerprints, scan your passport... it spits out a receipt, which you show to the official... and you're done. 2 minutes from gate to airport exit. Amazing.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lani View Post
    Actually what most people want is not TSA PreCheck, but Global Entry. Global Entry costs $100 for five years (versus $80 for five years of Precheck), and, like Nexus, INCLUDES Precheck.

    If you think you might travel just once overseas, Global Entry is a game changer. When you return back to the U.S., rather than stand in a long queue, you walk to an electronic kiosk that looks like an ATM. You provide your handprint/fingerprints, scan your passport... it spits out a receipt, which you show to the official... and you're done. 2 minutes from gate to airport exit. Amazing.
    Nexus is even cheaper at only $50 for five years, and as you stated, also enables Precheck. But it all depends on your particular travel. Global Entry is good for ‘flying’ back into the US, but it provides no benefits at a land border crossing (I.e. Canada/Mexico). This is where Nexus (Canada) and Sentri (Mexico) come in. As a Canadian, I can only speak about my experience with Nexus, but with Nexus, I get benefits crossing land borders between our two fair countries (dedicated lanes, expedited clearance) as well as benefits flying between our two countries.

    However, I have absolutely no benefits for any route that is not directly between our two countries. This is where Global Entry comes in. GE won’t do you any good flying into Canada, but you can use it for pretty much any return flight to the US. If you travel to Europe, or multiple countries, then GE is the way to go.




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  14. #14
    Forum Member Lani's Avatar
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    If I iived near the US/Canada border I would definitely be using Nexus!!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by NClens View Post
    Wow, I didn't realize that there were airports without TSA Pre-Check. For some reason, I assumed they all had it.
    I did too until I found a small airport in NC that didn't offer it. Really bothered me since pre-check is expensive and I don't fly much, so I want to get as much use out of it as I can. It's also really nice not having to take stuff out, that's the primary perk imo. I travel with "a lot" of electronics (Kindle, tablet and Nintendo switch is too much apparently) so I always somehow get flagged for extra screening if I'm not pre-check.

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