If you’re a leisure traveler, perhaps you’ve heard about the TSA PreCheck and thought it wasn’t enough of a value for you to plunk down $85 to get special clearance for five years. I guess that means you like standing in line. For a long, long time.
No? Hopefully you have comfortable shoes, because the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) estimates the summer travel season will cost travelers at least an hour in the security line.
Would you rather stand in line for an inestimable amount of time and potentially miss your flight or pay $85 and jump the line? If you’re like me, you’d like to jump the line.
Business travelers, still not convinced PreCheck is worth the money? Consider this: is your time worth $30 per hour? Take your total salary and divide it by 2000 working hours a year, and you’ll know how much you make an hour. If you make $60,000 per year, your time is worth $30 per hour.
If you could be productive or just more relaxed because you paid a one-time fee that could enable you to sit at your gate and answer email or work on a report, rather than standing in line scrolling through Reddit, wouldn’t you do it?
Before you forget the benefits of TSA PreCheck, let’s reiterate them: your shoes, belt, and jacket stay on your person. Your toiletries and laptop remain in your bag. You pass through a standard metal detector instead of the full-body scanner.
We know it’s a bit of a hassle. You have to make time for an in-person interview at the airport, and be fingerprinted. Still, it comes down to simple math again. A little time upfront will guarantee you hours of saved time in the next five years. How many hours will PreCheck save you over the next five years?
The reason the lines will be so long isn’t just due to the summer travelers. TSA doesn’t have enough staff, although they’re rushing to hire and train them. But until they get their new workers deployed, long lines are in your future.
But they don’t have to be. It’s not too late. You can take matters into your hands and control your security line destiny. You can find out more about the domestic TSA PreCheck program here and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Global Entry program here.
As they say, forewarned is forearmed. And sitting comfortably at your gate is certainly more preferable to standing in line at security.
Photo credit: Dion Hinchcliffe (Flickr, Creative Commons)