First Time Through TSA Pre-Check

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Months after United had offered me enrollment in TSA pre-check, I finally got to experience it when I was least expecting it.  The TSA agent checking IDs, waved me towards that lane and asked me if I was familiar with the process. I admitted “not really” and he said something about the airline probably explained it to me and to go left. It’s quite possible that’s not really what he said, but it was early and I was both excited and tired 🙂

There were only two people in line in front of me and both of them took their shoes off. The sign on the table though indicated that shoes could remain on and laptops and 3-1-1 toiletry bags could stay in your luggage. I asked and they said I could keep my shoes on. I went through the metal detector and it went off. Apparently my heels had metal in them and I’d need to take them off.  (In the future when I’m  flying United I’ll make an exception to my personal dress code and wear flip flops.)

Then my bags were held up because I had a jar of peanut butter in one of them (in case food wasn’t easily accessible in New Orleans). I protested that peanut butter isn’t a liquid, but apparently it’s a cream…I’m not sure if the pre-made peanut butter crackers I’d taken through in times past were allowed because they were under 3 oz of peanut butter or if it depends on the TSA agent. A search later revealed I’m not alone in my angst but that peanut butter is listed on prohibited items.

So even with all those hold ups I made it through security quickly and civilly, though sans peanut butter. The experience reminded me of what it was like to travel when I was a kid. Not a fan of the TSA, but as long as they’re going to exist, yay for pre-check!!!


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  1. Jeanne

    September 5, 2012 at 8:25 am

    Did you know you can buy peanut better in 1 ounce containers? (I feel like “the more you know” music should be playing)

  2. Karen

    September 5, 2012 at 10:48 am

    The cream thing is frustrating. You can’t bring through a tub of cream cheese or jar of peanut butter, but you can bring through bagels with cream cheese on them. Flying back from Florida a few weeks ago, not wanting to discard the tubs of awesome homemade cream cheese and dozen bagels from a friend’s deli, we sat in the airport and spread the cream cheese on all our bagels before going through security. Silly, since we ended up going through with the exact same amount of cream cheese anyway.

    • Jeanne

      September 5, 2012 at 2:43 pm

      I’ve brought through hummus just fine and don’t see a huge difference between that and cream cheese. Weird.

  3. Fisher1949

    September 5, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    This is a more PR garbage by TSA not improved airport security.

    In the past 18 months 2 million people have used Pre Check, some of them several times. There are over 700 million passengers each year or 1.05 billion people in that time.

    Providing an exemption based on frequent flier status on a private sector airline has to be illegal. This is no different than allowing people who buy a Volt or belong to AAA to ignore the speed limit. The concept is identical.

    The chances of you being able to use this is 0.19% or less than 2 in 1,000 trips and then only if you are a Delta, United, American or US Airways frequent flier. If you fly on Southwest or Jet Blue forget it.

    If they increase this to 100 times its current size, that would still be less than 200 in 100,000 or 1 in every 500 passengers. That is not going to speed up the lines for anyone but the privileged.

    Why would the average person be happy about biased program that favors the frequent fliers and treats them as being more equal than everyone else? We all pay the same amount for TSA, No one should get special treatment from TSA because they spend a lot of money with United Airlines.

    TSA is extending this to 2.2 million Federal workers with SSI clearance next year. Most will be exempt from TSA screening. Nice perk for Fed workers who make these rules.

    Would people be happy if TSA offered this only to millionaires, whites, men or college graduates? If not then they should oppose this along with the exemptions for other ‘special” groups.

    If these security measures aren’t applied to everyone equally, then they simply won’t work and should be stopped.

    There needs to be a class action suit brought against the airlines and TSA for this assault on the average traveler.

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