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Old 03-30-2016, 09:46 AM
200 posts, read 119,155 times
Reputation: 167


I just read an article that said that pre-TSA enrollment projections were way below their target. I've never seen the value in having TSA at all and honestly miss the "good old days" when air travel was easier. To those of you have enrolled in it, what kind of questions do they ask? Is it a stringent background check or cursory? Is it really meant to keep air passengers safe or just another "money grab" from the travelers? The article lamented that TSA had reduced TSA employment DOWN by 10% since they had projected that some of the passengers could be shuffled off to the pre-TSA checking lane. It didn't happen. Summer travel is expected to be heavy, resulting in more delays and headaches to board the airplanes.
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Old 03-30-2016, 11:34 AM
Location: Starting a walkabout
1,944 posts, read 943,425 times
Reputation: 2070
As itn all things in life, it depends

- on the number of flights you take per year, how crowded the airports you fly outward and inbound are, whether you like to keep to keep on your belt, shoes and light jacket on and Keep the laptop inside your carry on.

I found Global entry a better value at $100 for 5 years vs $85 for the TSA pre. The former requires a passport and a visit to a larger airport for an interview. So $20 per year is a small amount in the large scheme of things. But then I fly 4-5 times a year for business and once or twice a year for pleasure.

I think a background check is thorough but the interview was a formality and a 5 minute pleasantry exchange.
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Old 03-30-2016, 11:55 AM
14,275 posts, read 24,033,616 times
Reputation: 20111
If you fly weekly as I used to a few years back, spending $100 for 5 years to eliminate some of the hassles of getting through security is well worth the money. And about 95% of companies will pay for that. So why not?
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Old 03-30-2016, 12:29 PM
Location: Starting a walkabout
1,944 posts, read 943,425 times
Reputation: 2070
Regarding money grab Vs keeping safe I read that it did cost the US customs and border protection almost the full $100 to do the background check - they have to pay FBI for the background check.

Their main aim is to let the safer flyers go through a quick check so that they can concentrate their resources for the regular crowd which then may be a higher risk pool.

Global entry lets you bypass the long lanes at immigration while coming into the country from abroad. A big plus for me after a horrendous 90 minute "standing in queue" experience at Charlotte last August. Never again. That is what prompted me to apply for Global entry, which has TSA pre as one of its perks

Some higher end credit cards reimburse you the $100 fee for Global entry if you have used that card to pay for it.
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Old 03-30-2016, 12:35 PM
Location: Woodstock, GA
2,069 posts, read 3,508,406 times
Reputation: 2558
Yes, totally worth it. It makes security *almost* as pleasant as pre-9/11. Lines are usually (but not always) shorter. You keep your shoes and jacket on, and you get through screening much faster. You will have to decide for yourself if that's worth $85 every 5 years. Also check the airports that you plan to use frequently and make sure they have pre-check. Not all airports do.

The background check is pretty basic. I can't even remember the questions they asked so it must not have been anything beyond standard identifying information. They also took my fingerprints. I was done with the in-person interview in less than 10 minutes, including the time it took to pay. I got my code within a few days. Really the largest hassle was finding a place to do the interview. I was fortunate and was able to schedule an appointment in the secure area of ATL on the same day as a flight. So I just showed up to the airport a little early and got the interview done.

If you plan on doing any international travel in the next 5 years, pay the extra and get global entry.

As for "the good old days" I still remember the days before metal detectors when there was no security at all. Just walk up to the gate and check in to get a boarding pass. Then say your "goodbyes" before getting on the jetway. Those were the good old days.
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Old 03-31-2016, 05:35 AM
32,140 posts, read 33,051,397 times
Reputation: 14986
The Pre-TSA is a much more pleasant experience than the regular TSA screening. So if one travels frequently by air, I think it is probably worth the cost.
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Old 03-31-2016, 11:16 AM
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,694 posts, read 40,062,283 times
Reputation: 23839
TSA has their head so far up...... That ANY USA security is a joke. I flew 4x this week and I don't plan on paying for TSA -Pre (out of principle). As mentioned Global Entry is a better 'investment' (if you are an international traveler.). The airlines were covering my Pre and Global until this yr.

TSA PRE might be worth it if you don't want to take your shoes off. I often wear lace-up work boots cuz they are too heavy to pack. That is a pain, I'm getting much to old to bend over and tie 3-4x through security. (International flights often make you do security AFTER you get off plane, then when you go through the transfer desk, then when you enter the boarding gate, (plus the initial entry into terminal). I went through 4 checks today in Indonesia and Singapore. It is not that much fun, but at least I didn't have to deal with a BLOATED TSA entry level non-perceptive, grumpy, entitled, slouch. Somehow I feel safer when the security agents are packing a machine gun (and it is loaded). I would not want to have TSA in Denver (gun violence central) packing a machine gun... I have had very big altercations with TSA staff and managers in Denver, it is NOT a happy place.
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Old 03-31-2016, 01:42 PM
Location: Niceville, FL
7,688 posts, read 16,133,353 times
Reputation: 7711
I frequently wear slip-on shoes and am apparently above average in efficiency in assembling and disassembling my carry-on bag. I get pre-check for free every so often when I fly (apparently it's and attempt to hook you with the convenience) and the difference in general airport annoyance level isn't worth it for me.

Will look into Global Entry if it seems like we've got more international trips on the horizon since the time savings are more tangible.
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Old 03-31-2016, 02:05 PM
Location: Middle of the Pacific Ocean
11,777 posts, read 6,326,674 times
Reputation: 11590
I have pre-check through my job, but I wouldn't pay for it otherwise. But that's me. Others find the service worth every penny paid for it. I've broken down in another thread why I feel this way.
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Old 03-31-2016, 02:26 PM
Location: Silver Spring, MD
1,300 posts, read 1,099,301 times
Reputation: 1515
I have global entry and I think that it is worth it. The program costs $20/year, or a little over $16/year if you enroll right after your birthday. Having TSA-Pre makes getting to my gate so much faster, and the time that you save returning from an international flight can easily be an hour or more. In the few times that I have returned from an international trip since getting global entry, I am usually through customs and immigration before the rest of the passengers on my flight have gotten through the lines to start the immigration clearance process and that is including waiting for my checked bags to arrive. Also you shouldn't just consider frequency of use as the determination of value, certain airports and/or airlines can have horrendous lines like American Airlines in Miami or Southwest in Ft Lauderdale when cruise passengers are leaving, if you have ever been in those security lines you would think that the cost is well worth it.

I don't think that the background process is that stringent and even non-Americans from certain countries can apply. I also can't remember what they asked, but I'm taking two of my aunts to their interviews tonight for the program (one has a green card and the other just has her Cayman/UK citizenship) so I'll report back what they were asked.
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