TSA PreCheck is a relatively simple program offered by the TSA that allows approved individuals, flying with select airlines, to go through expedited screening at select airports in the United States. This might sound like a limited opportunity, but in truth it is available at over 180 airports and, following recent addition of 11 airlines, 30 airlines.
If you're enrolled in TSA PreCheck, your boarding pass will have a special notation that allows you access to the TSA PreCheck security line which (1) will be shorter and (2) will not require you to remove light jackets, belts, or shoes, or to removed your laptop and liquids from your luggage.
Why TSA PreCheck Is a MUST for Families
Dislcaimer: families who don't know what they're doing and (more importantly) won't listen to the TSA personnel have been the worst part of TSA PreCheck for me. It is such a good deal for families that even infrequent traveling families enroll in it, which can make the experience for frequent travelers a little worse. It can stink for me, but I'm advising that you do it anyways.
1. Getting through standard security with a family is awful (I assume)
Parents have enough to deal with at the airport before they have to make sure everyones large electronics are out of the bags, that belts are off, and so on. Waiting in those long lines is also a nightmare for kids who just want to get to Disney World (where, surprise, they'll have more security lines). TSA PreCheck simplifies the security process so that you can focus on corralling your kids and getting them quickly to the bathroom or to a place where they can just hang out and watch The Incredibles on the iPad.
2. The Price is Right for Many Families
As the screenshot from the TSA below shows, your kids 12 and under won't need to be enrolled in PreCheck, it's enough that you are. Kids 13 and older, and adult travelers, each need to be individually enrolled in PreCheck. This makes the PreCheck option better for families with younger kids. (The link in our next items provides the prices for various PreCheck programs.)
3. Some Programs Will Help with International Travel As Well
As you might gather from that above screenshot, the PreCheck program is actually considered something of a perk of a variety of "trusted traveler" programs. You can find more information here, but the short of it is that if you travel internationally, you will want to consider a program other than direct TSA PreCheck enrollment.
With PreCheck just significantly expanding its list of airlines, now is a better time than ever to enroll. Remember that the travel cards that reimburse PreCheck enrollment come with many other perks too, so it might be worth considering one of them - we're especially fans of the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Citi Prestige.