TSA to Require “Enhanced Screening” at Airports

The Transportation Security Administration announced new security procedures at all airports in the United States today. Travelers must remove electronics larger than a mobile phone from their carry-on bags and “place them in a bin with nothing on top or below, similar to how laptops have been screened for years.”

This means that tablet computers, handheld game consoles, Kindles and other ebook readers, and anything else larger than a cell phone will now be treated in the same manner as laptop computers have been treated in the past few years.

Luckily, there is one exception that has been in place for years that will be continued: anyone registered with TSA PreCheck does not have to go through this inspection.

Generally speaking, those who are preregistered with TSA PreCheck do not have to stand in the long lines (they usually have very short lines, sometimes empty lines even in busy airports). Anyone enrolled in TSA PreCheck doesn’t need to remove their shoes, laptops, liquids, belts, or light jackets, which means less time in line—and more in the lounge. Still not convinced? Here’s a fun fact: In June of 2017, 96 percent of TSA PreCheck passengers waited less than five minutes in a security line.

4 million people are already enrolled in TSA PreCheck, including me. I have been in the program for several years and love it. I travel 10 or 15 times a year and would hate to stand in those long lines I see as I walk past them.

You can apply for TSA PreCheck. Assuming you pass a background check, you will later be required to have an in-person interview that lasts about ten minutes. The entire process costs $85 per person; there is no discount for families.

Once enrolled, you always need to provide your TSA PreCheck number (actually called a Known Traveller Number, or KTN) when making the reservation. Most of the major U.S. airlines participate in the TSA PreCheck but a few commuter airlines do not. If your airline is not enrolled, you will have to wait in the longer lines. You also cannot apply for the program after making the reservation. You need to apply and be accepted first before making a reservation.

You can learn more about the TSA PreCheck program at: https://www.tsa.gov/precheck.

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