TSA PreCheck membership announces benefit: Is this service worth it to you?

Also -- check out TSA’s things to know before you travel this busy holiday and summer season

A TSA agent (Chip Somodevilla, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

HOUSTON – Ahead of the busy summer travel season, the Transportation Security Administration announced a benefit Monday for TSA PreCheck membership.

The agency said teenagers aged 13 to 17 may now accompany TSA PreCheck-enrolled parents or guardians through TSA PreCheck screening when traveling on the same reservation and when the TSA PreCheck indicator appears on the teen’s boarding pass. Children 12 and under may still accompany an enrolled parent or guardian when traveling through the TSA PreCheck lanes anytime without restriction.

TSA PreCheck passengers are low-risk travelers who do not need to remove shoes, belts, liquids, food, laptops and light jackets at the TSA checkpoint. The application fee for TSA PreCheck is $78 for five years. Most new enrollees receive their Known Traveler Number, or KTN -- to be used in travel reservations -- within three to five days, the agency said in its news release. Members may renew membership online up to six months prior to expiration for another five-year term for $70.

TSA said in April, 94% of TSA PreCheck passengers waited less than five minutes at the checkpoint. TSA said wait time standards for TSA PreCheck lanes are under 10 minutes and under 30 minutes for standard lanes.

Check out the TSA PreCheck frequently asked questions page here.

Do you do TSA PreCheck? Take our poll below. Let us know what you think of the service in the comments.

Here are additional things to know from TSA if you’re planning to travel this holiday and summer season:

Pack an empty bag and know before you go. When airline passengers begin packing for travel with an empty bag, they are less likely to be stopped at the security checkpoint for having prohibited items. Prior to packing that empty bag, check TSA’s “What Can I Bring?” tool to know what is prohibited. Firearms are prohibited at airport security checkpoints and on board aircraft. Passengers may travel with a firearm if they properly pack the firearm in checked baggage and declare it with the airline at check-in. Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition, so travelers must also contact their airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies prior to arriving at the airport. If passengers bring a firearm to the security checkpoint, they will face significant penalties to include federal penalties and additional screening.

Give yourself plenty of time. Summer travel will be busy, so plan ahead! Give yourself plenty of time to park or return a rental car, take a shuttle to the airport if needed, check-in with your airline, check in bags with the airline and prepare for the security checkpoint. Save time by removing items from pockets and placing them in your carry-on bag, instead of putting items directly into bins at the conveyor belt.

Be aware of new checkpoint technology and follow guidance from TSA officers. TSA uses a variety of security methods to secure our transportation systems. Screening protocols can be unpredictable and may vary from airport to airport depending on available technology and the current threat environment, so it is important to listen and follow officer directions. Some airports may have installed the new state-of-the-art advanced technology CT scanners. The opening to the X-ray tunnel on a CT unit is slightly smaller than on a traditional X-ray unit so TSA advises travelers not to force larger items into the tunnel, but to ask a TSA officer for assistance. Passengers must also place everything, including bags, into the bin for screening. Passengers are also reminded to bring at maximum one carry-on bag and one personal item through security screening. Some airports have construction underway to install these new CT scanners, and TSA asks passengers to be patient during the screening process.

Before passengers go through the AIT, all items such as wallets, cell phones and all light outerwear must be removed. Light outerwear is defined as an outer layer of clothing with a full front zipper or buttons used to fasten the outer garment, excluding button up shirts. Examples include, but are not limited to, windbreakers and vests, suit/sport coats, blazers and light jackets.

Respect TSA and other frontline airport and airline employees. Violence and unruly behavior in the nation’s transportation system are not acceptable and results in delays at traveler checkpoints. TSA officers, along with all frontline airport and airline employees and local law enforcement are all working together to ensure safe and secure travel. Assaulting a TSA officer is a federal offense and will result in penalties and/or arrest. Always follow the directions of flight attendants aboard aircraft. They are there for your safety and security.

Make sure you have an acceptable ID. Adult passengers 18 years and older must show valid identification at the airport checkpoint in order to travel. Beginning May 7, 2025, if you plan to use your state-issued ID or license to fly within the U.S., make sure it is REAL ID compliant. If you are not sure if your ID complies with REAL ID, check with your state department of motor vehicles. For questions on acceptable IDs, go to TSA.gov.

Contact TSA with questions, compliments, complaints or assistance. Travelers with questions have many options for contacting TSA. AskTSA is available for live assistance from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. ET via Twitter or Facebook by messaging @AskTSA or by sending a text to “272872″ (”AskTSA”). For customer service issues, travelers may reach the TSA Contact Center (TCC) at (866) 289-9673. Individuals with disabilities, medical needs or other special circumstances may request passenger assistance at least 72 hours in advance by contacting our TSA Cares passenger support line at (855) 787-2227. Live assistance for both the TCC and TSA Cares is available weekdays, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET, or weekends and holidays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET.

For those traveling with children this summer, TSA offers kid-friendly videos for children packing for their upcoming trip.

About the Author:

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.