Family Travel Thoughts TSA Precheck

TSA Precheck – should you wait for your companion?

So the other day I semi threw my friend under the bus in my Chase Reserve for dummies post. Of course, she’s such a nice person she thanked me for it so what’s a troll to do? If at first you don’t succeed, try try again! It’s Friday and I feel like having some fun, so I thought I’d discuss another one of my friend’s views that I disagree with. I think that if someone has TSA Precheck, they should go through regardless of whether their companion does or not. She, being a nice person, thinks you should wait. So let me share my reasons why you should NOT wait for your companions who don’t have TSA Precheck. While most of my reasons assume a line of fifteen minutes or more, I still think they apply to short lines.

Of course, these are just my opinions and you’re welcome to share yours in the poll and comments below. 😀

Sometimes a person with TSA precheck travels with a companion who doesn't have TSA Precheck. Should you wait for your friend?
Look at this line at MCO – would you make someone you love suffer with you in it?

1. You probably paid for it

First things first, TSA Precheck (or Global Entry) costs money. Someone who has this benefit likely paid for it. The counterargument I’m likely to hear? “But you probably only have Precheck because your credit card reimbursed you!”

Well, miles and points friends, we can’t have it both ways. We can’t use the Global Entry credit to justify the annual fee in our mind (offsetting the cost) and then say that we got Global Entry for “free.” Global Entry cost us something whether we got reimbursed or not. And in the case of Global Entry, we had to go to that accursed interview (still impossible to sign up for in Boston!). 

So for starters, if you wait for your friend, you’re giving up something you paid for. If they ask you to wait for them, they are asking you to sacrifice something you paid for. So acknowledge that fact.

Sometimes a person with TSA precheck travels with a companion who doesn't have TSA Precheck. Should you wait for your friend?
This family pretends they are happy but the husband HATES taking off his shoes (Photo Credit | monkeybusinessimages,

2. You can take care of stuff post security to make your companions’ travel easier

OK, so it’s not great to leave someone behind, I get that. And if you just wait on the other side of security for them, you possibly should just have waited with them in the first place. BUT, you could also buy them something to eat, go check in with the gate agent to get better seats, go to the bathroom so you can watch their stuff once they get through so they can go to the bathroom unencumbered, ET CETERA. 

More importantly, if you’re traveling with kids under the age of 13, they can go through TSA Precheck with you. Should they really have to wait with the non TSA Precheck person? Imagine how settled you could get the kids into the airport with the extra time!

3. Why take off your shoes and take out your laptop?

If you go through the TSA Precheck line, you don’t take out your laptop or liquids and keep your shoes on. But if you wait with your non TSA Precheck companion, you’ve gotta take off your shoes and take out your laptop. Again, non TSA Precheck person – why would you subject your friend to this? It can be such a hassle and it takes extra time.

Moreover, do you know who else gets their time wasted? Other people in the non TSA Precheck line! One function of TSA Precheck is lightening the load on the regular security line. By asking your TSA Precheck friend to wait with you in the regular line, you are increasing everyone else’s wait as well. Shame.

4. You will probably smell worse

Do you know what happens when you wait in line for 20+ minutes? You start getting stressed out about missing your flight (especially if you’re used to showing up at TSA Precheck times!). So then you start getting hot, sweaty, and uncomfortable. This may or may not result in you smelling worse depending on your genetic makeup. Who will receive the bulk of your odors? Your companion, who made you stand in line with them!

Sometimes a person with TSA precheck travels with a companion who doesn't have TSA Precheck. Should you wait for your friend?
Do you really want to leave your loved one in this?

Reasons to wait for your companion

You’re nice, I guess? But answer me this – if you really loved this person, wouldn’t you have bought TSA Precheck for them in the first place? It will be way more useful for five years than any earrings or wallet or tie you might think to purchase. So think upon that!

Anyway, I know my feelings on the matter seem strong…that is because they are. But in all seriousness, I’m genuinely curious, what do people think the etiquette should be around TSA/no TSA Precheck. I’m like 90% certain Jess wouldn’t make me wait for her – like I’ve said before sometimes space can be a good thing. But yeah, let me know in the comments or the below poll – should you wait for your non TSA Precheck companion?

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TSA Precheck


Current poll results (updated 5/1/17 12:34 PM EST):

Never (55.7%)

Only if line is less than 10 minutes (31.6%)

Always, jerk! (12.7%)

Total votes = 79

Sometimes a person with TSA precheck travels with a companion who doesn't have TSA Precheck. Should you wait for your friend?

Just an average joe trying to fly his family for less

10 thoughts on “TSA Precheck – should you wait for your companion?”

  1. I mean, if Phil has precheck and I don’t, he better wait. If I have precheck and he don’t, see ya on the other side sucka! 😀

  2. But it’s like only $17 per year right? Does companionship really split so cheaply? 😉

    Seriously though, if my wife had it and could take our daughter on ahead and get settled (leaving me in the non-TSA Pre line) I’d be ok with it. But I don’t think I would do the reverse.

  3. I’ve gone through TSA precheck before with my s/o in regular during a massive line at O’hare. After that she signed up for Global Entry. It was a benefit she had access to, just didn’t see the value… until I got through in 5 min and her an hour later.

  4. I always take my girlfriends bag with me thru precheck and that saves her time as well. She loves that she doesn’t have to do anything but take her shoes off. She is a foreign student so she can’t qualify for precheck but once in awhile she gets it when I check in for out flights.

  5. I think that the single best reason to go ahead and use the precheck line has been missed.

    We assume that it’s a given that the regular line will be slower because it has more people in it. So why would we want to make it longer, when every person who COULD use precheck, but doesn’t out of mistaken loyalty to their friend/family member adds to the length of time to get through that line?

    Obviously the best solution, within a family, is to have all adults who are wrangling kids have precheck. But when it’s only adults, the person with precheck goes through and waits. It only makes sense.

    And, BTW, because my husband kept forgetting to get his appointment made, that is exactly what I did, during the time I had GE, and he did not.

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