[You all know that I love TSA Pre✓®, so I was more than happy to cooperate with IdentoGO on a sponsored post about how people can sign up for the service. If you haven’t yet, it’s most definitely worth considering.]
Traveling on a tight schedule can be stressful for anyone as readers of The Cranky Flier know. From the businessperson who has to catch a flight immediately after an important meeting to a family with children that have to be corralled, it is difficult enough to make a flight on time. This is doubly challenging when you think about all the things that are out of your control as a traveler: Traffic, weather, and of course, the length of the security lines. But for those with TSA Pre✓®,the expedited security program of the Transportation Security Administration, at least one of those things is no longer a worry. The screening process, which begins with a quick trip to your local IdentoGO Center (click here to schedule an appointment), allows people to go through security stress-and-hassle-free at a fraction of the time they were able to before.
Since it was introduced to the general public in 2013, TSA Pre✓® has grown quickly and now includes more than 1 million enrolled fliers. Now, it’s even easier to sign up with more locations coming online to facilitate enrollment. There are now more than 300 IdentoGO centers or airport enrollment locations nationwide. You can click here to see which ones have extended their hours for the summer months to make it even more convenient for travelers to join and travel smarter.
Enrolling in TSA Pre✓® is an easy process and takes just a few, quick steps. First, fill out this online application and schedule an appointment at your local enrollment location. Before your appointment, make sure you bring your driver license and another approved identity document, including a passport, green card, or social security card. Be sure to bring a credit card, money order, company check, or certified/cashier’s check to your appointment. When you arrive at the enrollment center, you’ll be asked to present your application, get your fingerprints scanned, and pay the $85 application fee. The whole appointment will take only minutes, and you’ll save all this time back the first time you fly with TSA Pre✓®.
Within a few weeks, if everything checks out, you’ll receive your confirmation, along with your Known Traveler Number (KTN), in the mail. Remember to use the KTN every time you book a flight on these airlines as it will clear you for TSA Pre✓® when you arrive at the airport. You’ll be covered for 5 full years of TSA Pre✓® status once approved.
Visit www.identogo.com for more details. Many of the readers of The Cranky Flier are already travelling smarter and are part of the million-and-growing TSA Pre✓® population, and many more readers know of the program. But if you have a friend or family member who wants to become part of this quickly growing program, tell them to click here to find their local IdentoGO Center and sign up today.
Write a comment to share your story about how TSA Pre✓® has saved time for you!
First, I hope we’re not going to see more of this… I don’t have any problem with you promoting your own business, but seeing shilling for parasitic companies like IdentGO is really sad.
As for Precheck… Precheck is nothing more than the government trying to recoup some of the cost of security theater without having to admit that making people take off shoes and belts and take laptops and liquids out of bags has done absolutely nothing to make air travel any safer.
+1 EXCEPT: if it’s an airport, airline, or some other authority. Or any other company addressing a specific article or issue aimed at them. Never hurts to hear directly from the source, even if it is all kool-aid.
Quite frankly, if you’d all like to start paying to read the blog then I’ll be more than happy to ensure that you don’t see the very rare sponsored post. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to discuss that option. Assuming you’re not interested, then you’ll simply have to deal with this on rare occasion.
I keep pricing for sponsored posts relatively high and I’m selective about which ones I allow. Very few have gone live, and when they do, they are clearly marked as such in multiple places. You’ll notice this went live on a Wednesday, a day where there is usually no post. This does not disrupt the usual content at all.
XJT DX – You will NOT see a sponsored post from an airport or airline because of the potential for people to think that would create a conflict.
My content is always free to read and I put very little advertising on the site. To be blunt, if a couple of occasional sponsored posts are too much for you then you’re welcome to stop reading.
I’m glad to see posts like this. I love Precheck but it was a bit of a pain to figure out how to get it when I got it early last year. More savvy travelers using it probably means more happiness; the lines are often very short and a few more people wouldn’t hurt. :-)
To be clear, are these IdentoGO offices independent places with an additional fee, independent places that are paid by TSA or some other organization (not the traveler), or additional government offices with a snazzier name?
Well said – and thanks for putting up with all these comments.
Well said Brett, people don’t realize running a blog takes money. Not to mention all the time and sweat equity you have put in. Appreciate it running on an a normal off day and clearly labeled as sponsored. No problems at all from a fellow journalist.
Brett, we all understand that running the blog costs money. What I think is the issue is an advertisement disguised as a “post”. If this was labeled as an advertisement, and placed with the other advertisements, no one would have any problem with it.
I also think that a freemium subscription model of some sort would be worth looking into. I have read your blog for years and would gladly chip in to keep it up and running, and to keep the content unbiased.
I sort of assumed that the underlying point of the blog was to increase visibility / drive traffic to Cranky Concierge.
If that’s true, Brett, you may want to try to develop a thicker skin toward critical comments. Whether or not the people above keep reading your blog, they’re certainly less likely ever to become paying customers after a rebuttal like yours.
I think your best reply would have been no reply.
That’s another issue to keep in mind. I’ve never used Cranky Concierge, but I have to wonder about whether I’d be comfortable paying someone to work on my behalf when they also accept money from companies like this. Brett, can you clarify?
FWIW, I do use them and have been happy with the service.
Jim – Clarify what, exactly?
Sorry Brett, I should have been more clear. The concern was that if a company made a sponsored post, you or your staff would prioritize that company’s services. For example, if a client was trying to plan an itinerary with a tight connection at an airport that would require a landside terminal change, the concierge might recommend signing up for PreCheck through ItengoGo, even if another method would have been more suitable. Do you have a mechanism in place to prevent that?
This may sound far-fetched to you, but it’s really about maintaining trust more than anything. I have no reason not to trust you and your employees, but I still think safeguards should be in place.
Jim – You’re right, this does sound entirely far-fetched to me. If people are this concerned about conflicts, then they should probably not use any travel agent service. After all, there are still large commissions that many travel companies dangle in front of agents. Many may think airline commissions are gone, but that’s only published commissions. There are plenty of lucrative deals out there, and many travel agents can benefit greatly by booking one airline versus another. That should be a much more real concern for a traveler than whether someone might suggest using Pre Check or not.
Regarding the Concierge business, any commissions go to the company so there is no incentive for any individual to book one airline versus another. Other than that, there is no way to prove whether there’s any outside influence or not other than through experience. People can read about us on Yelp or they can ask their friends who have used the service.
We solely look for what will be the best option for the traveler.
There will be people out there who don’t want to believe any of this, and that’s fine. There’s nothing we can do to prove it to them one way or the other before signing up. All we can do is express how important our reputation is. We would never do something that’s against the customer’s best interest for two reasons. One, my morales wouldn’t allow me to run a company like that. Two, the best way to get more customers is to take care of the ones you have.
Thanks for the detailed answer.
Gee Patrick you mean to tell me I wasted $85?
Next thing you’ll tell me is that Mobile Passport is just a bunch of baloney too.
I was very excited when I joined TSA PreCheck…cost was $100. and I save a lot of time at the check point. Now they randomly send those who have NOT Paid for the service thru, and many with foreign passports who can barley speak English. Kind of defeats the purpose don’t you say
Got mine through the Global Entry Program, and I really like the TSA addition however, the product/benefit is being diluted by the people being directed to the TSA Pre lines and the airports that close their TSA Pre lines. Why have TSA Pre if the line is closed @ 6pm?
For me the fc/elite lane is fast enough, plus sometimes get Pre on my boarding pass anyhow.
Yet MORE Money for ‘services’ that we already pay for in some form. During my working/frequently flying years, (and on a company tab) it may have been a bargain. Now, not so much. I take a slower approach to things, allow time, refuse to be pushed or rushed and I won’t pay for instant clearance. My passports(**) are perfectly valid, work just fine and I’ve never experienced a ‘data processing error’ in my travels. I tend to buy tickets toward the front, have lost most ‘Status’ and rely on historical grace – and age – to get me through the barriers. Problems are rare. I see no need to pay an extra fee for what I’ve already paid for, in my case(**) two passports. The TSA’s and other computers do NOT need special fees to process entry and exit checks more briskly; the systems are the same. I think this is add-on program is absolute nuts and I won’t buy.
(**) I have two passports only because in past years, I’ve had need to visit a few nations that Do Not Honor the usual passport and identification conventions. Fortunately, our State Department understands these issues and, when necessary, issue additional documents. This should NOT be necessary, but…
Hi Cranky. You asked for how it has speeded me thru so I will begin with that. I am amazed that sometimes I can be in the gate area, 20 minutes after I leave my house. Shoes stay on, laptops and liquids stay in the carry on and no body scan. Great. However I am spoiled and flying internationally sometimes pisses me off that I have to go through the same routine as non TSA pre in the US.What is not so great is the amount of people who are not familiar with the process who routinely are routed thru the TSA pre line for one reason or another. Such as a group of old women with more crap in coats and purses etc than I care to mention that I encountered in LA not too long ago. It took 12 minutes for them to get thru the screener, as I started timing it. I even said something to the security agent and he agreed, sometimes non-TSA pre people are redirected to speed things up. Which of course is bad for 2 reasons. They hold up the people that applied, paid a fee and took the time to go though the screening process. And a terrorist could get though with god knows what. If security wants to randomly send non TSA pre folks thru our line, then pick a business person or someone who appears to have some sense about this all.
I chose the pocketbook shakedown rather than reach underneath my pockets and get my junk fondled. It is certainly worth it. Now, if Southwest international flights can get on board so I don’t have to get the full SSSS (very fitting) when I return from Mexico (in U.S., not Mexico itself) again in a few months.
Brett, do some airlines allow TSA precheck for international?
PreCheck is available for all flights operated by participating airlines, including international flights.
Eric Morris – Yep, it should be available for international travel departing US airports on all participating airlines. That being said, it would surprise me if Southwest couldn’t get its IT act together to make it work. And of course, the only foreign airline participating is Air Canada so any travels on a foreign carrier mean no Pre Check.
Brett, thanks for answering my question and thanks for writing this blog. As far as I am concerned, every other post could be sponsored and I would still read. The ones complaining seems ironic to me because they are the same ones saying the freeloaders on precheck can’t comprehend the signage!
Frankly, if someone can’t figure out the GOES site on their own, and has to go through an intermediary like Identogo to register for precheck, then I’d really rather not have them clogging up the precheck line.
So when everyone signs up, with there be a Platinum Pre Check to avoid the lines at the the Pre Check?
Sam, it’ll be called Pre Pre-Check.
Standing in line at security at LGA last, there were a lot of people watching the precheck line move along and wishing it was them… If I as a Canadian get a Nexus card, does that give me pre-check?
James, I’m a U.S. citizen with Nexus, and that automatically got me both pre-check and Global Entry. My Nexus # is the KTN for all three. I would think it would be the same for you as a Canadian, but I’m not positive.
James, I’m a Canadian with a Nexus card, and I get Pre-Check every time. Totally worth it. (There are also separate lines for Nexus card holders at many Canadian airports.)
PreCheck has become a complete joke for the reasons several of you have mentioned above. I couldn’t agree more – if one isn’t smart enough to use the GOES website, why should they qualify for expedited screening? I personally think they should charge more for the service as, like people have mentioned, I find it frustrating when random people are pushed through the line. Moreover, some PreCheck travelers seem clueless about the process. I have my access via Global Entry and thinks that’s how the process should work. Be forced to wait in a dingy customs area in a major airport before the mandatory screening.
Anybody have a real answer about what happens to the fingerprints once they’re scanned?
I am pretty frightened about the possibility of those data getting compromised. I can hardly change my fingerprints like I can change a password.
My wife and I have always been Delta Diamond Medallion members so that means we are flying all the time. As such, we were automatically enrolled in the initial test program. It was great the first two years as they were doing what they promised-speeding up security lines for the high volume traveler.
That has all changed and perhaps because we live in the city with the worlds busiest airport, our view is that it takes almost as long now as before we had pre-check. Every week there are long pre-check lines in Atlanta, filled with travelers taking off their shoes, forgetting to leave their bottles of water in the trash and so on. I have switched over to the Medallion line at times just to get thru faster even with taking shoes off.
I’m not against most travelers being pre-check as everyone deserves a speedier process but in Atlanta, TSA has not expanded the number of pre- check lines so we are back to 2001 almost.
The $85 I spent on PreCheck a year ago has probably been the best travel investment of my life. I can’t even imagine waiting through regular screening anymore. I went into one of these Identogo centers and was out in 15 minutes; I think my known traveler number arrived by mail in about a week. I hope that as more people join the program, the TSA will expand the number of lines.
TSA Pre lines are getting longer and longer. Eventually they will be as long as regular security lines
I signed up for Global Entry when it was first available so that is how I gained access to the TSA Pre Check program. It was wonderful in the beginning. As several people have already mentioned, it has been ruined by allowing anybody to sign up and worst of all, randomly sending people through who have no clue what it is. They need to go back to the original premise and create a program/line for frequent travelers, not the occasional traveler to expedite the process for those who understand it. The worst is getting behind families (those with strollers), seniors who have to be hand screened and those who don’t even speak English to follow the very simple instructions. I’m fortunate as my home base airport is efficient 90% of the time however I frequently fly through busy airports (like IAH, EWR and ORD) where the TSA Pre Check line can be longer than the regular security line. It certainly makes me a “cranky” flier when I end up behind those “random” people!
The TSA Pre(check) line at SFO is often longer than the “regular” line!
Granted, the PreCheck line usually moves a little faster, which is great, UNTIL you get a “newbie” in line ahead who doesn’t know the routine and ends up really slowing down the forward movement. Happens often.
Whenever the topic of precheck comes up, there inevitably comes the chorus of complaints in the form “I paid for precheck and now people are getting in for free and slowing down the lines.” So let’s clear a few things: precheck is not an entitlement program, and the $85 fee does not pay for quicker inspection or shorter lines. It just pays for the government to look over your records.
The government has an obligation (and also wants) to move people through the security checkpoints as quickly as possible. The best way to do it would be to eliminate the security theater altogether, but that’s not feasible for political reasons. So the next best thing is a “managed risk” approach, where people who are considered low risk get less scrutiny. The government determines who is low risk based on their extensive surveillance records, and allows these people into the precheck line.
However, the government’s records, while extensive, are incomplete. That’s where the precheck application comes in: people can pay the government to go over their records and classify them as low risk. This increases the likelihood that they will be selected for precheck at the security lane.
Of course, since the application costs money, people feel entitled, and get upset when others get similar treatment for free. And the advertising around the precheck program (including posts like this one) stresses the convenience, again making it seem like a fast pass program. But it’s not. The precheck application is just a request for the government to classify you as low risk. At the security lanes, access is controlled by perceived risk, regardless of how the risk determination was made in the first place.
FWIW, I have never applied for precheck or any other known traveler program in the U.S. I sometimes get precheck anyway, and sometimes I don’t.
Your comments are true however why don’t you simply tell people to get a Global Entry card? It’s only $15 more, it gives you TSA precheck, not to mention a fast track through customs and immigration when one enters the U.S. TSA Precheck is hardly worth it with such a slight difference in cost for GE.
Kinda what I expected ….
All these folks thinking that they’re the priviliged class and “deserve it all, right now….and we’ll pay for it”.
Welcome to the Real World, folks.
Lots of complaints here about letting people without Pre Check use the lines, or “managed inclusion” as TSA calls it. The new administrator had made an indication that they were looking to get rid of that process, so that would hopefully help to ease the burden of people who have no idea what they’re doing. (I really hope that happens too.)
This is a disappointing comment, Cranky. Do you hope that some low-risk passengers keep undergoing unnecessary security theater checks, so that those who paid to get their credentials reviewed enjoy shorter lines?
Right now the faster lanes are open to anyone deemed by the government to be low risk. If you want faster, paid lanes that’s fine — but then have the subscribers pay for the actual cost of keeping these lanes open. This will be a lot more than $85 every 5 years.
Managed inclusion is a marketing program. They are hoping that people will experience the “benefits” and decide to pay for a membership.
CF, you should not have posted this. We want to maintain Pre-Check as an underutilized service so we can enjoy it. If passengers realize how great the service can be, current Pre-Check passengers will suffer at an exponential rate, especially given the Pre-Check’s reducing availability (less terminals per airport) and increased accessibility (more random selection passengers).
I have also had the unfortunate experience of getting to a terminal on one side of a major international airport only to be told: “TSA Pre-Check is at Terminal B only.” The advantages of this service will be effectively zeroed out by reducing the availability of the lanes while increasing the passengers who get the access.
Also, how do they randomly select folks to get less security screening? Seems so strange and counter-intuitive that TSA admin will randomly reduce security of people not given a background check, especially given the recent TSA probe. I really hope the new administrator brings “managed inclusion” to an abrupt end.
For the past few years I have been getting PreCheck but I hadnt applied for it. Don’t know how that happened but, I enjoy it, particularly when it works. I do travel extensively and about half of my trips are International, if that has any bearing on it. What I don’t understand is why people who travel very infrequently and are from some country, not the US, seem to be routinely put through the PreCheck line. These are people who largely do not speak English and their unfamiliarity with Security in the first place are totally confused which backs up the line.
I have heard that TSA is contemplating overhauling the program to filter out those who haven’t applied (like me?) for it. Anyone hear that?
You say half your trips are international. Assuming you’re eligible, you sound like a prime candidate for Global Entry. If you have that, you get PreCheck too, and the application fee is only $15 more for the same five years.
What’s the difference between a “sponsored post” and plain advertisement?
Frankly, I am a bit disappointed that this post doesn’t mention alternatives to getting Pre Check. That, in my opinion, makes it an ad (or infomercial).
I contribute every year to my local PBS/NPR station, so yes, I would be happy to contribute to CF via some sort of membership drive (I am making that statement independent of today’s post).
It all sounds good, BUT if you have an implant (knee, hip, etc.) you still set off the red light and have to submit to a full body scan. Better to use the normal security line and go through a scanner. That works even for people like me.
Pre-Check is a scam. Why should we have to pay in order to ensure that we receive civilized treatment at the airport? Why should the poor have to be groped because they cannot pay off the government to get out of it?
I know the money is for a background check, but that’s just an excuse. Passing a background check means nothing. Many of the 9/11 hijackers could have passed a background check. Terrorists could easily recruit someone with a clean background.
This reminds me of some Asian countries where the police solicit bribes in return for leaving you alone. “Give me 100 yuan, or I will search your car and hold you here for the next hour.” Pre-Check is the same. Give us $85 or we will force you to walk through a scanner that has largely been proven ineffective, and possibly give you a full pat down that involves contact with your genitals. Didn’t like it? Sign up for Pre-check!!!
For all of us that believe that the TSA pre-check (and the TSA in general) is just more “security theater” take a look at the article below!
Precheck is turnoign out to be a joke. Teh more people sign up for precheck the more the othe rlines open up. I went thorugh an airport recenlty where i opted for the normal lanes instead pf precheck and got through faster.
Precheck is very subjective. They can deny you for have an arrest on your records with NO convictions. Kind of like GUILTY until orven innocent. Pay you $100 dollars and they keep it and tell you no, but a TON of NON-CITIZENS now get recheck.
WTF is this, an infomercial? What’s next, Popeil’s pocket security? The Dyson traveling vac-u-suck?
And on top of that, it’s not clear at all why anybody would want/need a third party service to sign up for pre-check. People are better off getting it through other programs and various elite programs and credit cards will refund the sign-up fee.
David – Again, this is not a third party service in the way you mean it.
IdentoGO runs the Pre Check enrollment centers on contract. There is no extra fee. TSA just outsources the work.
Daily I check in foreign passengers (traveling with foreign passports), don’t speak a bloody word of English, traveling domestic USA who have TSA PreCheck on their boarding passes. Plenty of Americans traveling that don’t get this. How do foreigners, many who can’t even tell me what city they’re going to, get this privilege while many Americans pay for it ? Personally I would never pay for TSA PreCheck for this very reason. I’ll take my shoes off, thank you, rather than paying $90-$100 annual or whatever it is. Global Entry (international) on the other hand might be more useful @ $100 for five years. Also airlines can put the Global Entry number in your reservation (PNR) and it will automatically (print on the boarding pass) “TSA PreCheck” domestically. So just pay the $100 Global Entry for five years and you’ll have international AND domestic TSA PreCheck clearance.
Attn TSA — Stop giving The.Store.Away !!!!
What is next? Cranky Flier got on a flight…and you won’t believe what happened next!
I think that lots of the negative reaction to both the post and to Pre-Check is overdone.
With respect to the post, it’s clearly marked as sponsored content and the company doesn’t seem to be one of those that charges you extra for something you can do yourself. So where’s the harm?
With respect to Pre-Check, yes it’s more crowded these days, yes the lanes sometimes close, and yes people sometimes get it who don’t pay for it. So what? It still makes my travel a little less aggravating and for that reason alone, I like it. I’ve flown through National airport at rush hour, where it seems like everyone has Pre-Check, and I’d still rather wait an extra ten minutes in the crammed Pre-Check line than have to get undressed and unload my bags in the regular line. At most of the terminals I’ve been in where the dedicated Pre-Check lanes close, they’ll still allow you to keep your shoes on and your bags packed so it still keeps the aggravation factor down. And although I don’t fly too much (30K-40K miles per year), I’ve never seen a non-English speaker or non-US ID holder in the pre-check line (my home airport is a hub with substantial international traffic). Most of the folks I’ve seen or heard of getting bumped into the Pre-Check line are travelers that I would assume to be low risk (elderly folks, teenagers).
Pre-Check was never meant to be a perk for “elite” travelers. It’s an attempt to limit the security burden for individuals assessed to be low risk.
I love your blog. Part of the reason for that is how well written it is. While I have NO problem with sponsored posts in general, this post is terribly written.
Just a couple gems…
How TERRIBLY awkward is this introductory sentence?
“Traveling on a tight schedule can be stressful for anyone as readers of The Cranky Flier know. ”
“Enrolling in TSA Pre?® is an easy process and takes just a few, quick steps.” Why the comma after few? Who does that!?
The whole thing is rife with awkward phrasing, redundant sentences, and poorly chosen punctuation.
Overall, it reads as though someone typed it up in all of five minutes.
Now, I do agree you should make a buck of the blog, and I also appreciate that you try to limit sponsored posts in general, but posts of this low level of quality stick out like a sore thumb when compared with your usual high standard for composition.
I hope you might reconsider the posts you allow in the future so as to better match the quality of other content on this blog.
I’m a couple days behind, but I always try to catch up on my Cranky Flier reading. I was surprised at the comments criticizing this post and just thought you should hear my 2 cents. I am a regular reader, and I have absolutely no problem with you putting up a post like this. I appreciate the fact that you posted it on a Wednesday so it didn’t even take the place of the normal content you post, in effect it was a bonus post. That was considerate of you.
Having read TCF blog for several years, I know you have high standards (and careful ethics), so I’m interested in what you would endorse even knowing you’ve been paid for it. (And I appreciate the sponsor paying to support the excellent free content you regularly provide.) But even if I were’t interested, how difficult is it to click the “x” or the back button and go about one’s business without reading the “bonus” sponsored post???
Anyway, thanks for all the great content you produce and make available for free to those of us who are interested. Keep doing what you are doing, and don’t let the critics get you down!
By the way, I’m also a satisfied Cranky Concierge client.
Thanks for chiming in, David.
We first joined through Nexus which was a thorough process requiring (a) an application for a security check, (b) a trip to a border station where we were interviewed by Canadian and American officials, fingerprinted, and photographed, and (c) a trip to a Canadian airport for our iris scans. We were impressed by the effort to identify low-risk travelers.
Later there was an upgrade to Global Traveler with a $100 fee. We somehow missed the TSA announcement, articles in the newspapers, or on Cranky Flyer that there was a cheaper and simpler way to get TSA PreChek. How did a private company get to do a cheaper and simpler version of clearance than the official government procedure? Do they provide the same security for travelers?
Kelty – This company is just the TSA’s agent that runs the enrollment centers. It’s not a competing outside effort. The fee for Pre Check is $85 and if you don’t fly internationally, that’s the best way to go.
IdentoGo Center is new to me. I agree that TSA Pre? is a great way to save time and avoid long lines at the airports. There are other ways as well as IdentoGo to apply for TSA Pre?. Many airlines are participating and you can apply through them. I actually enrolled in TSA Pre? from Global Entry. Global Entry gives you the same kind of advantages, but it applies to international travel and makes entering the USA easier without the long lines. Once you have a Global Entry enrollment, you can enroll in TSA Pre? through them (which is what I did). TSA Pre? is a great way to avoid the long lines while still have the security protection that we all need. IdentoGo sounds like a nice simple way to enroll in TSA Pre?.
Hey Crankster — no problem with sponsored posts, as long as you label them as such. It’s no different than newspapers with “sponsored” advertisements. They’re infomercials labeled as advertisements. They can say anything they want but the reader knows what it is.
Same with this.
Like your blog. Keep it up. Stay Cranky!