Flying to Roma or heading down under? Your next trip through airport security could be much faster.
The TSA announced Tuesday that Australia’s Qantas and Italy’s Alitalia had joined TSA PreCheck, the government-run fast pass through security. They’re the latest additions in PreCheck’s rapid growth of airlines – PreCheck has added nearly 20 new carriers in 2019 alone.
With Qantas and Alitalia now in the fold, 73 airlines now participate in PreCheck. And that’s a reminder of a critical aspect of TSA PreCheck: It’s not a free pass into the shorter, easier security lines. It only works if the airline you’re flying with is part of TSA PreCheck. Scope out the full list of participating airlines on TSA’s website.
How PreCheck Works & How to Get It
Signing up for TSA PreCheck is simple and straightforward. You’ll fill out a quick application and pay the fee. From there you will head to a certified enrollment center for a short interview (bring your passport), fingerprinting and a photo. If everything checks out, you should get the OK within a week or two.
Your first time through the PreCheck lane, you’ll wonder why it took you so long to join the program. The security lines are often drastically shorter, but that’s only half of the benefit. You get to leave your shoes, a belt and a light jacket on while going through security. Your laptop and the carry-on approved liquids in your bag can also stay put as you put them through the baggage screeners.
Read our full guide to getting and using TSA PreCheck.
If you’re eager to get through security faster, you have a few options to get signed up – including a few ways to do it for free.
One route to get in the PreCheck lane is through Global Entry. Global Entry is a separate government program that helps you speed through immigration when you return to the United States. But it also comes with PreCheck. If you’re weighing Global Entry vs PreCheck, be sure to read our guide to the two programs.
PreCheck typically costs $85 for a five-year membership, while Global Entry costs $100 for the same period. But there are several different credit cards that come with credits that will cover the cost of your application. Just pay your application fee with one of these cards, and you’ll get reimbursed!
Lead photo courtesy of Masakatsu Ukon via Flickr
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