young boy in airport pointing in front of a window with airplane in the background

TSA PreCheck for Kids: Top Things to Know

Thinking about getting TSA PreCheck for your family? Here’s everything you need to know about TSA PreCheck for kids, including costs, wait times, and more.

young boy in airport pointing in front of a window with airplane in the background tsa precheck for kids

Hello, fellow travelers! If you’re a parent and are planning a family trip, you’ve probably thought about how to make the airport experience smoother. I know we have! We spent years trying different products from Amazon or that we found online in hopes that it would make flying with kids easier. Little did we know that one of the biggest things that would help was staring us in the face the whole time! TSA PreCheck! 

You’re in luck because today, we’re diving into the world of TSA PreCheck for kids. It’s literally like a bonafide, Willy Wonka golden ticket to breeze through security without the usual and dreaded hassle. In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about TSA PreCheck with kids, including costs, wait times, and even what to expect when your kids get older and become teens. So, let’s get started!

TSA PreCheck for Kids

I’m not one to tell you to spend all of the money, but when it comes to TSA PreCheck, I would highly recommend it.

TSA PreCheck allows you to go into a usually much shorter security line (which is a bonus in and of itself!). 

But wait, there’s more! 

When you show the TSA your boarding pass and ticket, you get to go into a separate security area, which means you aren’t fed into the same area that General Boarding is. 

But wait, there’s more!

Here is the best part! You can keep your shoes on, you can keep your coat on, you can keep your liquids in your carry-on, and you can keep your electronics in your bag. WAT. Basically, you put your stuff in the bins, get scanned, and grab your bags again. 

I’ve heard a lot of parents who find going through airport security with young kids say that the worst part is getting all of your stuff taken care of while making sure your kids aren’t wandering or freaking out. With TSA PreCheck, you don’t have to worry about that!

TSA PreCheck for Kids Cost

First things first, let’s talk money. Traveling can already cost a pretty penny, so what is this gonna cost you? And will the convenience it provides outweigh the cost? TSA PreCheck for kids is a fantastic investment for smooth sailing through airport security, but it does come with a price tag. 

For you that is! 

The cost of enrolling yourself or your spouse in TSA PreCheck is currently $78 for a five-year membership per person. This fee is non-refundable, but there is a bright side to this! 

If your kids are on your flight reservation, they are free! 

You read that right. If you have TSA PreCheck, your child can accompany you, a TSA PreCheck-eligible parent or guardian, through the shorter and much quicker TSA PreCheck security line. Amazing, right?

Are there any discounts for TSA PreCheck?

Here’s some good news – if you’re a member of certain frequent flyer programs or credit card loyalty programs, you may be eligible for a fee credit. This means you pay to get TSA PreCheck and they will reimburse you! So, before you reach for your wallet, check if your credit card or airline offers this perk. It can save you some dough! 

Although your TSA PreCheck lasts for 5 years, it is nice to be able to save some money, right? Especially if you are wanting to get TSA PreCheck for you and your spouse. The good news is that some credit cards have TSA PreCheck vouchers! If your credit card has this perk, you just use it to pay for your TSA PreCheck and your credit card company will reimburse you for the cost. It’s the best! 

Our favorite credit card with this benefit is the Delta Amex Platinum Credit Card. It does have a $350 annual fee, but also has some amazing perks, like the TSA PreCheck or Global Entry reimbursement along with a companion certificate for a domestic round-trip Main Cabing trip. Free Flight! The free flight perk is only available after you pay the annual fee, but in the meantime, you can be racking up Skymiles with 2 miles per dollar at Restaurants and Grocery Stores. It helps too that all of your card spending with this card can help increase your SkyMiles Status as well!

I’m talking up this card so much, but just know that we don’t have it right now. We started off with the Delta Amex Gold Credit Card and have earned 80,000 miles in just 6 months! With the Delta Amex Platinum Card, we’ve earned 120,000 miles in under 6 months! Obviously, that does include the welcome bonus miles we got, but in 6 months, that’s easily 2-3 roundtrip domestic flights!

Do we need TSA PreCheck for kids if they are flying alone?

Yes, if your kids are flying alone and won’t be on your itinerary, they will need their own TSA PreCheck, which means they will need to go through the process and pay the fee. Kids are only free for TSA PreCheck if they are flying with you on the same flight reservation.

TSA PreCheck Wait Time

One of the main perks of TSA PreCheck is the shorter wait time at security checkpoints. Instead of waiting in long lines with shoes half on and suitcases half open, you and your kids get to enjoy expedited screening and a much calmer scene. You can keep your shoes on, your laptops and liquids in your bag, and your sanity intact. Until you get on the plane. Haha. Plus, it’s a fantastic way to keep your little ones from getting overstimulated and restless before your flight. 

TSA said that in April of 2023, 94% of TSA PreCheck passengers waited less than 5 minutes at the security checkpoint. Those are pretty good odds if you ask me!

Just remember that even though TSA PreCheck lines are typically shorter and faster, there is always a chance that you may encounter a longer wait time than the 5 minutes mentioned above. Factors like airport size, time of day, and flight volume can still play a role. However, on average, the wait time is significantly shorter, making it a game-changer for family travel.

TSA PreCheck with Teens

As your kids grow up, you might be wondering how TSA PreCheck works in their teenage years. Well, one year ago, I would have said that once your kids turn 13, it would be time for you to help them get their TSA PreCheck and have them go through the process of getting their own Known Traveller Number (KTN). However, as of May 2023, all kids 17 and under can use the TSA PreCheck line with their parents! (As long as you are a TSA PreCheck passenger of course.)

However, if your teens will be doing some solo traveling, it may be helpful to have them get their TSA PreCheck. They will get their own KTN and be able to access the TSA PreCheck security line without needing to be accompanied by a TSA PreCheck parent or guardian. The process for teens to get TSA PreCheck is the same as for adults. They’ll need to fill out an application, visit an enrollment center for fingerprinting and a photo, and pay the $78 fee. Once they are approved, they can travel separately with their TSA PreCheck benefits.

Tips for a Smooth TSA PreCheck Experience

TSA PreCheck Requirements Recap

Before we wrap up, let’s do a quick recap of the TSA PreCheck for kids requirements. First off, you must be a TSA PreCheck passenger. For your kids to receive the same benefits, your children must be 17 years old or younger, and they must be on the same flight reservation as you. The cost for you to get TSA PreCheck is $78 for a five-year membership, but some credit cards and frequent flyer programs offer fee credits. The application process involves filling out a form online and scheduling a short appointment at an enrollment center for fingerprinting and a photo.

Make Sure Everyone Knows the Drill

One of the best ways to ensure a smooth TSA PreCheck for kids experience is to make sure everyone in your travel party knows the plan. Explain to your kids what to expect at the airport, from the security screening to the boarding process. Let them know that they can keep their shoes on and their favorite toys in their bags. It’s all about setting expectations and making them feel part of the travel adventure.

Keep Your Documents Handy

When you’re at the airport, having all your documents in order is key! Don’t add unnecessary stress to your trip and have all of your IDs and TSA PreCheck KTN handy. Your KTN should already be on your boarding pass, but if it’s not, you will need to go to the check-in counter if you want to be able to use its benefits. 

Conclusion: Smooth Sailing Through Security

In conclusion, TSA PreCheck for kids is a game-changer for family travel. It saves time, reduces stress, and makes the airport experience much more enjoyable for both parents and little ones. While there is a cost involved, the benefits far outweigh it, especially if you’re a frequent traveler.

So, if you’re tired of the long lines and the struggle of getting your kids through security, consider enrolling them in TSA PreCheck. It’s an investment in hassle-free travel that will have you wondering why you didn’t do it sooner. Plus, as your kids grow into teenagers, they can continue to enjoy the benefits on their own.

So, go ahead, and book that family vacation with confidence, knowing that TSA PreCheck for kids 20 Things to Do in Astoria with Kids That Deserve a Spot on Your Itinerarywill make the airport part of your journey a breeze. Happy travels!

mom and young boy on airplane


TSA PreCheck Frequently Asked Questions

How much does TSA PreCheck cost? 

TSA PreCheck as of 2023 costs $78 per person and lasts for 5 years. Kids 12 and under don’t need TSA PreCheck as long as you are their parent or legal guardian and you have TSA PreCheck. 

How do I sign up for TSA PreCheck?

To sign up, you will need to fill out an application on the TSA website. You will be asked some basic questions and then need to set up an in-person appointment to finalize your application and get fingerprinted. During the application, you will be asked which two forms of identification you want to use to verify your identity. 

Be sure to bring those forms of identification with you to the interview! 

The interview lasts about 10 minutes and this is the time you will pay the fee. They will also take your picture too! Think passport photo though, so neutral expressions.

How long does the process take to get TSA PreCheck?

Once you’ve submitted your application online and had your interview, it can take anywhere from 2 -60 days to get a decision. I say decision because you do have to have a good record to be eligible for TSA PreCheck. If for some reason you are not approved, your fee is nonrefundable. 

We got lucky because when we did our TSA PreCheck, we got our Known Traveler Numbers within one week! Thank goodness, because we had a flight the week after. Ha, we were cutting it close, which I don’t recommend!

How do I add my TSA PreCheck to my reservation?

If and when you are approved, you will receive a Known Traveler Number (KTN). This number can be added to your airline reservations and will then show up on your boarding passes for the next 5 years! 

If you are adding TSA PreCheck to an existing reservation, be sure to add it before checking in to your flight! Otherwise, it won’t show up on your boarding pass and won’t allow you to go through the TSA PreCheck lines.

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