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TSA PreCheck vs. Global Entry vs. CLEAR: Cost and benefits of each

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46 minutes ago, Randyk47 said:

The few posts on PreCheck look like it’s running around three weeks to get conditional approval which allows you to then schedule an interview.  That can take days to weeks depending on your local TSA office appointment schedule.  Once you’re interviewed and fingerprinted it can run from minutes to weeks before final approval.  

 

Interesting. I was already fingerprinted. I'm not sure I would call it 'interviewed', a quick chat at the pre-check office at my local airport. Showed identity docs, fingerprinted, etc. I think I'm on to 'wait to receive known traveler number'. 

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6 hours ago, perditax said:

 

Interesting. I was already fingerprinted. I'm not sure I would call it 'interviewed', a quick chat at the pre-check office at my local airport. Showed identity docs, fingerprinted, etc. I think I'm on to 'wait to receive known traveler number'. 

 

PreCheck interviews are pretty minimal.  It ramps up a bit with GE and gets a bit more serious with NEXUS with its dual Canadian and US interviews.  As for the wait usually, barring your fingerprints revealing some negative information,  it’s a case of the agent not pushing the submit button right away.    A bit different but the CBP agent that did my interview told me I would be approved and should get an email within a day or so.  He apparently pushed submit right away as I hadn’t even gotten back to my SUV when my approval came through.  Interestingly same airport same agent three weeks later interviewed my wife, told her she’d be approved, and it took three weeks for her to get her approval email.  

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On 6/20/2019 at 8:52 AM, Randyk47 said:

 

Hard to get a good average from my go-to frequent flyer forum that has a large section on Trusted Traveler Programs and PreCheck.   The majority of contributors are frequent International flyers so the tendency is to go with programs like NEXUS and GE.  The few posts on PreCheck look like it’s running around three weeks to get conditional approval which allows you to then schedule an interview.  That can take days to weeks depending on your local TSA office appointment schedule.  Once you’re interviewed and fingerprinted it can run from minutes to weeks before final approval.  

 

Turned out to be three days between fingerprint and KTN.

 

Tomorrow I’ll get on the phone with Delta and start playing the “why doesn’t my profile have my middle name” game, I hear it’s a fun one. 

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On 6/19/2019 at 3:07 PM, Randyk47 said:

I always carry my GE card in my wallet.  If anyone asks for ID, it's what I show.  It doesn't have all the PII that a Drivers License has, so I'm more comfortable with it.  

 

 

On 6/19/2019 at 3:07 PM, Randyk47 said:

When I'd show my GE card, I did get some pushback.  I'd just ask for their supervisor and ask the supervisor to bring the book which listed the legal IDs.  I'd direct them to the list and show that GE was like #4

 

These are great tips! Thank you. I experienced the ignorance and lack of training so often at first that I stopped trying. Good to know things have improved with time. 

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The only glitch, if you can call it that, with GE was flying through Honolulu.  We flew there on an American carrier and stopped over for a few days before continuing on to Australia with Qantas.

 

At the Honolulu airport, the TSA line for the groundlings was very long and very slow, but there was nobody waiting in the per-check line.  I approached the TSA officer, showed him my GE card and requested that we use the pre-check line.  BUT, because Qantas does not print TSA Pre on boarding passes, he said we couldn't use the TSA-pre line.  I reminded him that the GE is a higher security clearance than TSA-pre, but he wouldn't budge.

 

His position made no sense to me, but I didn't want to raise a stink while trying to catch the flight.  Once cleared with the groundlings, I asked to see a supervisor and that person agreed that it makes no sense, but the rule is that TSA-pre must be printed on the boarding pass.

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Posted (edited)

You are not guaranteed expedited screening even if you have PreCheck & not all airports or airlines participate in the program, so I'm not sure why you were arguing with the TSA workers.  The way they determine eligibility for any given flight is via the boarding pass designation.  This is all clearly spelled out in their FAQs and other program literature.

Edited by bEwAbG

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24 minutes ago, SargassoPirate said:

The only glitch, if you can call it that, with GE was flying through Honolulu.  We flew there on an American carrier and stopped over for a few days before continuing on to Australia with Qantas.

 

At the Honolulu airport, the TSA line for the groundlings was very long and very slow, but there was nobody waiting in the per-check line.  I approached the TSA officer, showed him my GE card and requested that we use the pre-check line.  BUT, because Qantas does not print TSA Pre on boarding passes, he said we couldn't use the TSA-pre line.  I reminded him that the GE is a higher security clearance than TSA-pre, but he wouldn't budge.

 

His position made no sense to me, but I didn't want to raise a stink while trying to catch the flight.  Once cleared with the groundlings, I asked to see a supervisor and that person agreed that it makes no sense, but the rule is that TSA-pre must be printed on the boarding pass.

 

Qantas is not a participating airline so you can’t get PreCheck from them.    That said many feel that since it’s the individual that goes through the background check PreCheck should be connected to the person and not the airline.  Luckily most of the major, and minor for that matter, airlines have applied for PreCheck status and the list gets longer all the time.   

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19 minutes ago, Randyk47 said:

 

Qantas is not a participating airline so you can’t get PreCheck from them.    That said many feel that since it’s the individual that goes through the background check PreCheck should be connected to the person and not the airline.  Luckily most of the major, and minor for that matter, airlines have applied for PreCheck status and the list gets longer all the time.   

 

^^What Randy said.  It wouldn’t matter which airport you were flying from.  If the airline doesn’t participate in TSA-Pre then you don’t get that security lane.

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bEwAbG  brings up a good point and that is even if enrolled in PreCheck or in one of the Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP) the associated benefits are not absolutely guaranteed.   You can be randomly non-selected and forced to go through the regular security lane.  Even NEXUS and GE benefits are not 100% guaranteed and you can get randomly selected to go through the full customs and immigration drill.   One of the things I see people get really upset about is getting the dreaded “SSSS” on your boarding pass which leads to a full bag search, explosives swabbing, and sometimes the body pat down.   Neither PreCheck or TTP enrollment will shield you from those.  Does that happen often?  No but it can happen.   

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1 hour ago, Randyk47 said:

 

Qantas is not a participating airline so you can’t get PreCheck from them.    That said many feel that since it’s the individual that goes through the background check PreCheck should be connected to the person and not the airline.  Luckily most of the major, and minor for that matter, airlines have applied for PreCheck status and the list gets longer all the time.   

 

In my example of the Honolulu airport, it seemed inefficient to me that someone with GE who was flying on a non-participating international carrier would not be able to use the pre-check line - especially since the pre-check line was empty.

 

Interestingly enough, when we got to Sydney, with GE we were able to use the immigration kiosks.

 

The only thing consistent with any government operation is inconsistence.

 

Patience is the key.

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16 minutes ago, SargassoPirate said:

 

In my example of the Honolulu airport, it seemed inefficient to me that someone with GE who was flying on a non-participating international carrier would not be able to use the pre-check line - especially since the pre-check line was empty.

 

Interestingly enough, when we got to Sydney, with GE we were able to use the immigration kiosks.

 

The only thing consistent with any government operation is inconsistence.

 

Patience is the key.

 

I do understand your frustration and point.   We had a something similar happen a few years ago when flying British Airways before they became a participating airline.   Huge line for the regular TSA security checkpoint and virtually nobody in the PreCheck lane.  I think that's when I really started thinking about the benefit being personal and not connected to the airline.  

 

There is some talk about changing the PreCheck program but mostly in the vain of making it easier to enroll and possibly offering an annual fee option rather than the present $85 for five years.   When the program first started in 2013 the Department of Homeland Security projected, or at least hoped for,  25 million members.  Some six years later and there are only 8+ million members.   Unfortunately the changes they are talking about don’t mention anything about changing the participating airline requirement.  I’ve seen nothing on changing the Trusted Traveler Programs or benefits.    

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Just an update on the status of our GE renewal.  As of today we’ve in the “pending review” stage for five weeks now.   Checking on another website I’m still seeing average waits of about 12 +/- weeks.   There are a few reports of approvals in literally days but those are the exception.  Serves as a reminder not to wait to too close to your expiration date. 

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On 7/4/2019 at 12:48 PM, Randyk47 said:

Just an update on the status of our GE renewal.  As of today we’ve in the “pending review” stage for five weeks now.   Checking on another website I’m still seeing average waits of about 12 +/- weeks.   There are a few reports of approvals in literally days but those are the exception.  Serves as a reminder not to wait to too close to your expiration date. 

 

We’re now at 60+ days and still pending review.   If any of you have Global Entry and are within the renewal window I would strongly recommend you do it.  The reported average waiting time is 100+ days.   

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