Tired of taking off your shoes and belt and standing dozens of passengers deep in the airport security line? Consider applying for the Transportation Security Administration's pre-clearance program: TSA PreCheck. You'll verify that you're not a security threat, allowing you to skip some of the basic security hassles associated with air travel and travel through a quicker priority security check-in line with biometric kiosks. For frequent international travelers, getting priority boarding and quicker security lanes can save them countless hours and this priority access is a worthwhile perk.

Check the list of airlines on the TSA website that participate with TSA Pre to make sure the one you regularly fly participates with the program. Major carriers such as Delta Airlines, United, American Airlines, Southwest and US Airways are involved, and TSA plans to add more. Some airlines have invited frequent flyers to participate, but others can still get pre-clearance and join this a-list security screening process by joining TSA Pre voluntarily.

Register for an account at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Global Online Enrollment System. You must enter basic personal information to create this account and that personal info has to match your boarding pass in order to be accepted at the security checkpoint.

There is a $78 fee for 5 years of TSA PreCheck. You can pay this annual fee with your credit card when you’re filling out the application online, and they accept most major credit cards, like American Express and Capital One.

Go to the Global Entry website's programs page to see the list of international programs for security pre-clearance, including TSA Pre. Click on the TSA Pre link and follow the instructions to apply for an account. If approved, you will get a card with a PASS ID number.

Enter the PASS ID number when you book flights in the field listed as "Known Traveler Number." Make sure your name, date of birth and other personal information match precisely what is on your TSA Pre card. Then you’ll be able to go through the quicker screening process at most U.S. airports.


TSA Pre participants are subject to the same random extra security screenings as other passengers, so there's still a chance you'll encounter that situation even if you are a member of the program. Getting priority check-in also doesn’t mean you can bring any banned items into the priority security lane, and this elite status doesn’t get you special treatment of your carry-on, so be sure to take your laptops and liquids out still!