TSA Precheck, Global Entry, Known Traveler Number:
TSA – Precheck, Global Entry, Known Traveler Number
Everyone loves a vacation – rest, relaxation, and exploration. What is not to love? Well, in a nut-shell – the getting there part! The getting there part is even harder if you fly! Thanks to a few nutjobs who made strict security checks at airports necessary, long lines at airport security are now the norm.
According to TSA, lines are long, long, long. Read more about the very long regular security lines here.
You can SKIP the long lines at airport security! Why wouldn’t anyone choose NOT to skip the line?
If you pay a little extra and go through the relatively painless process of filling out forms for a background check and going through an interview you can –
SAVE TIME, SKIP LONG LINES AND HEADACHES FOR 5 YEARS!
TSA Precheck, Global Entry, Known Traveler Number: What are the trusted traveler programs?
*TSA Precheck –
This program is for US Citizens and gives expedited security screening at participating airports
*Global Entry –
This program is for US Citizens, US lawful permanent residents, and citizens of a few other countries. It gives expedited processing through participating airports AND land borders and includes TSA Precheck benefits.
Global Entry is the one that we chose and TSA Precheck is what shows up on our tickets.
This program is for US Citizens and lawful permanent residents AND Canadian citizens and lawful residents. It gives faster processing at airports and land borders between the US and Canada. Includes Global Entry AND TSA Precheck benefits.
This program requires proof of citizenship and admissibility documentation. It gives faster processing through Custom and Border Protection screening at land borders. (For US citizens only: it also includes Global Entry and TSA Precheck benefits.
TSA Precheck, Global Entry, Known Traveler Number: So….what the heck is a known traveler number?
When you are prompted to fill in your ‘known traveler number’ as I was when I checked in online for Hawaiian airlines…I thought, ‘What the heck is a known traveler number?” I fill like I’m swimming in numbers and logins and passwords these days!
In short..whichever program, you are in…Global Entry, TSA Precheck, etc…the number you receive IS your known traveler number.
So, put that number in the box.
The English teacher in me doesn’t understand why they didn’t call it something else like Trusted Traveler Number….since all these programs fall under the ‘Trusted Traveler’ umbrella.
Wouldn’t that make sense?
Or, they could have written above the box…”Global Entry/TSA recheck/Nexus/Sentri” so you would know…. but no…the government had to find a more complicated verbiage to confuse the masses!
TSA Precheck, Global Entry, Known Traveler Number: BENEFITS
Five years is a long time to enjoy the benefits of TSA-Precheck, Global Entry, and Trusted Traveler programs.
1. You get to wait in a MUCH shorter line!
(OMG! Seriously, do you even need another reason?)
2. You’ll have less hassle going through the shorter line, too.
*You can leave ON shoes
*You can leave ON belts
*NO hassle with unpacking laptops
*YOu can leave on jackets
3. This is especially valuable for families.
When you are in a regular security line and taking off your shoes and belt and your kids’ shoes and belts and someone beeps on the machine to walk through and one kid is running off or stopped right in the middle in everything and people are almost falling over them and then the security person says they need to take an extra look at your carry on ….and you are trying to keep an eye on your purse with all your money, CC cards, etc. in it which is just sitting there in the open while other travelers are just walking by snatching up their stuff while the rest of your stuff is piling up at the end as the conveyor belt keeps right on going…….
You will be wishing you had listened to me and signed up one of these programs!!
4. This is also VERY valuable for nervous fliers.
If you have someone in your party who is a nervous flier anything you can do to have a smooth trip helps. Zipping through the line without undressing and unpacking will help calm the nerves. Read more about flight anxiety here.
TSA Precheck, Global Entry, Known Traveler Number: TIP
If you are a frequent flier member of your favorite airline(s) add your number to your frequent flier account. Then, it will automatically be added to your ticket every time you use your miles.
TSA Precheck, Global Entry, Known Traveler Number: Check to make sure they are printed on your tickets.
Remember to check that this number actually prints on your tickets.
If it doesn’t print you won’t be allowed in the shorter lines.
It isn’t automatically printed on your ticket – YOU have to enter it when you check in.
There is no ‘master computer list’ that security people have access to at the airport (though if we can put a man on the moon….why isn’t there???) so YOU have to enter your number on your own ticket or they have no clue it even exists. We learned this the hard way! Benefit from our mistake.
TSA Precheck, Global Entry, Known Traveler Number: KIDS
YES – children have to have their OWN account and number.
Children applying for TSA Precheck or Global Entry:
*parents fill out an application
*attend an interview with your child
*will receive their own card and number
Just like everyone of every age needs a passport, everyone in your traveling party of any age needs a TSA Precheck or Global Entry account and number.
Like the weakest link, if there is one person in your party without it…the rest of the party will be waiting on that one person.
Insist on everyone getting an account.
TSA Precheck, Global Entry, Known Traveler Number: BUT, what if…
Skeptics and penny pinchers often want to avoid paying the fee for TSA Precheck and Global Entry programs.
Saving money when you can is a lofty and admirable goal – every penny saved is a penny that goes into the travel fund, right? I’m with you BUT… on the other hand…..
“For a nickle more you can go first class! Anonymous”
Of course, you can’t really go first class for a nickel more, as my very literate 10-year-old pointed out, but..you get the drift.
If you fly at all…I guarantee you’ll appreciate the programs to make traveling easier.
Think you don’t need trusted traveler numbers to skip the lines? Think again!
Some think you can skip the line or be allowed to circumvent the line for ‘good’ reasons. Let’s bust those myths:
MYTH #1 If I’m super pregnant they’ll feel sorry for me and let me go ahead of the line.
Ha! This type of chivalry died years ago.
Sad but true. Not only will you stand in line like everyone else but you might even be more likely that you will be selected for ‘extra’ screening to make sure that big belly is real and full of a baby instead of god knows what.
I know this from personal experience. Every single time I flew very pregnant I was singled out for the extra screening.
MYTH #2 I need a wheelchair and have one requested. This will be faster than the regular line.
HA! If might be faster if you bring your own wheelchair from home, but if you have to wait for someone at the airport to bring you a wheelchair and push you…be prepared to wait. You’ll need more time – not less.
MYTH #3 My elderly friend has a cane and we travel together. They will let us go together.
HA! If this actually worked routinely everyone would buy a cane or rent a grandma!
It doesn’t even work for the cane carrying person never mind the cane carrying person’s friend.
Now..once in a while you’ll encounter a non-jaded security person who might give you a little extra help.
Though it would probably be their first day on the job because seriously…Can you just imagine the snarling people they have to deal with All. Day. Long. Every. Single. Day?
But….don’t count on it.
TSA Precheck, Global Entry, Known Traveler Number: The Bottom Line
Whether you travel a little or a lot…domestically or internationally…alone or in a group…TSA Precheck, Global Entry, and Known Traveler Number programs are a MUST.
*skip the lines
*skip the stress
The beginning of every fantastic trip begins with a stress-free airport experiences!
But…don’t stop there! If you want a truly stress free experience, start with The Educational Tourist. As a travel agent and travel writer, I can offer you easy trip planning – make it educational, fun, and stress-free!
Happy ‘security line free’ travels,
Natalie, The Educational Tourist