Believe or not, but the TSA has invented something that just might be the greatest thing since sliced bread. I don't think that's an exaggeration, because let's be honest...most of the best inventions came before sliced bread. The wheel? Toothbrushes? Keys? All before sliced bread.
Two words: TSA Precheck. Or TSA Pre✓, if you want to be totally literal.
I discovered the magic this summer while traveling for work...but it wasn't because I had it myself. No, why would I take the easy route? Instead, I was stuck going through normal security while my two coworkers breezed through in five minutes or less with their own special line.
Here's what happens. You fill out an application online and then schedule an appointment for an in-person interview of sorts. On the day of your appointment, you go to wherever that appointment is, answer a couple of questions, pay a fee, and you're good to go through security for the next five years with a special line, no need to take your shoes off, no need to take your computer out of your bag, no need to remove your jacket, and five extra springs in your step PER TRIP because you just saved yourself time and the humiliation of someone patting you down because you had a few bobby pins in your hair. Because that happens and it's way awkward.
So finally, Chaz and I came to our senses and filled out the application on Monday. Our in-person appointment was this morning, and now, or at least within 45 days, we will officially each have a Known Traveler Number and can enjoy all the benefits of the government being aware of the fact that we aren't bent on destroying things en route to a school to train them on how to use software. Or vacation, I suppose.
They don't let you have a phone out while you're doing the short interview (for obvious reasons), so I can't give you any fantastically enthralling images of the nice lady taking my fingerprints or me filling out a survey, but that's pretty much all it takes. Aside from the fee and the slight inconvenience of the fact that the TSA Precheck booth is only open during regular business hours, there no reason not to do it. I mean, look how happy we were walking out! Don't you want to experience that kind of joy when traveling?
Arguably, I can't really profess the full benefits until we actually get the number and try it out for the first time, but you can count on getting an update when that day comes. Won't that be the most interesting blog post? Don't get too excited.