Let Joe Know: What you don't know about TSA PreCheck

Eighty-five dollars to avoid waiting in a long security line for the next five years?

That's the sell.

But five years into the program, does TSA PreCheck live up to its promise?

The program claims to save you time and stress when traveling. Shoes get to stay on, laptops stay in the bag and you don't have to go through the body scanner.

But does it really save you time? Depends. 

The program is available at nearly 200 airports across the country.

But you can only use it if yours is one of the 53 airlines that participate.

On top of that, it's not always available.

PreCheck screening areas may be closed when you need them.

Have a flight out of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport later in the evening? You may be out of luck.

Even when they are open there's a chance you're going to be waiting.

While TSA says most passengers wait less than 5 minutes, there have been complaints that PreCheck can be longer than regular screening lines.

Partially because TSA randomly selects some lower risk passengers for PreCheck, and partially because it's a popular program.

TSA says more than 6 million travelers are enrolled. Two million additional are expected in 2018.

So, is it worth it?

You'll probably see most benefit if you travel early morning through mid-evening. But check directly with each airport to see what times the PreCheck areas will be during your trip.

Find Sky Harbor's hours here.

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