The 2023 summer travel season is expected to be a busy one, making federal programs like TSA PreCheck especially helpful for fliers, according to experts.
Such programs carry fees but generally save travelers time at the airport. However, relatively long processing times — as with recent passport applications — mean it may be difficult for some new applicants to take advantage before traveling this summer.
«You have so many people wanting to travel now, especially after the pandemic,» said Sofia Markovich, a travel advisor and founder of Sofia's Travel. «It's just like passport renewal, where there have been these huge delays.»
That said, programs like TSA PreCheck and Global Entry are «definitely worth it» for frequent fliers, she added.
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«They make sense all year round, but especially when it's the busy season,» Markovich said.
TSA PreCheck aims to cut down the screening time in airports. Travelers wait in a different — and often shorter — lines from the standard security line. In April, 94% of PreCheck passengers waited less than five minutes at the security checkpoint, according to the Transportation Security Administration.
The agency aims for wait times of 10 minutes or less with PreCheck, and 30 minutes for typical lanes.
TSA PreCheck — available for departures from certain U.S. airports — costs $78 for new enrollees. A membership lasts five years, and renewals cost $70.
The upfront fee for new members amounts to $15.60 a year. Several credit cards cover the fee as a customer perk.
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