I Almost Forfeited My TSA PreCheck Privileges by Thinking I Was Smarter Than Everyone Else

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A complaint I’ve heard several times about TSA PreCheck is this:   Because more people are enrolling in the program, the lines are longer.  Sometimes they’re MUCH longer than the regular ol’ security line.

I too have found TSA PreCheck lines to be occasionally longer.  But I’ve got no problem with it.  TSA PreCheck is about way more than short lines.  I’ll explain!

As a reminder, you can get a reimbursement for TSA PreCheck (up to $100) with the following cards:

  • United Explorer Card
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve

TSA PreCheck is one of the best ways to immediately upgrade your travel experience.  You can subscribe to our newsletter for more tips to traveling like a seasoned vet.

TSA PreCheck isn’t about shorter lines.  It’s about FASTER lines

The TSA PreCheck Lane Is Faster – Even When the Line Is Much Longer

I live near some pretty chill airports.  None have ever been frighteningly busy, and thanks to my TSA PreCheck membership, I’d say I’ve always arrived at my gate within 15 minutes of arrival.  TSA PreCheck gives members a dedicated lane, which is usually much shorter than the primary (and oft crowded) security lane.

On top of that, you won’t have to:

  • Remove your toiletries from your bag
  • Remove your computer from your bag
  • Take off your shoes, belt, jacket, etc.

This is a huge saver of both time and dignity.

Flying out of Dayton recently, the TSA PreCheck lane was much longer than usual (perhaps 10 travelers in line).  Meanwhile, the normal security lane was a ghost town.  NOBODY in line.  The common-sense traveler that I am, I decide to enter the lane with less people.

Handing my ID to the TSA officer, I made a disparaging comment about the other travelers whose horse blinders prevented them from seeing a wide open lane right next to PreCheck.

He then said something to the effect of, “Hah, yeah… You’ll actually have to take off your shoes and belt and remove your laptop and toiletries from your bag if you come through this line.”  I promptly turned around, retraced my steps, and entered the lengthy TSA PreCheck lane.

Even if you have TSA PreCheck, you’ll only receive those benefits when you go through the proper TSA PreCheck lane.  I didn’t know that, as I’d never attempted to claim my PreCheck benefits through the regular security lane.

Because of this, I’m willing to queue up to keep from disrobing at the security checkpoint.  Even if the TSA PreCheck line is longer, you’re still likely to save time because it’s so much faster to process PreCheck passengers.  Plus, you won’t be discharged at the end of the line in nothing but your skivvies.  Putting yourself back together takes time, too!

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Joseph Hostetler is a full-time writer for Million Mile Secrets, covering miles and points tips and tricks, as well as helpful travel-related news and deals. He has also authored and edited for The Points Guy.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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