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TSA PreCheck: Should You Ditch Your Travel Companion If They Don’t Have It?

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CH: Wait—how did that happen? That you beat them through even though they had PreCheck?

PK: So many people have PreCheck, and so if you’re at a major airport like Atlanta it might just work out that way, although it’s only happened to me once. 

Shannon McMahon: A parallel example relevant to the last debate: I was traveling with my husband this weekend and we were booking upgrades and mine disappeared. We had separate reservations, because I was on assignment and he booked his own to join me. He upgraded to comfort, and I was left behind. I think he thought that I was going to be quietly mad at him, and I was saying I was fine. My whole philosophy is very much that if you’re going to pay for something, you should use it. And so, for PreCheck, I think what Rebecca said is so dead on. If you want to do something for me on the other side while I’m in line, great, but go use the PreCheck that you’re paying for.

PK: That makes me feel so bad about what I was going to say, which is that I would be so pissed if my friend left me behind—I wouldn’t want to see them on the other side!

CH: What is it about togetherness on a line that is so valuable to you?

PK: I feel like travel is so much about sharing experiences together, and when things split you up I feel like it affects the trip and the memories that you have. For me, everything when you’re traveling is personal—you’re supposed to remember all of these moments together.

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CH: I think I just like being alone so much.

SM: When I’m traveling and in a hectic environment, I so prefer to just put my head down and get through it alone.

PK: I think it’s because of my family—my mom’s in Dubai, my dad’s in Thailand, I have family in India and family in the United Kingdom, and my sister and I are in New York—that all of the time that we are able to grab together is sacred. 

CH: And do you have PreCheck yourself, Pallavi?

PK: I’m on a visa, so that’s not an option for me right now anyway. I have to go back to India to get it but then the wait time to get my visa stamped is 500 days—so if I leave here it will be for a while. 

CH: What about you, Rebecca?

RM: I have Clear, which I’ve found is often faster. I’ve made the appointment a few times, but I feel like it’s always at the worst time but I make it optimistically months in advance and end up canceling it. Unlike Pallavi, if my husband wants to take the kids on his own for twenty minutes, that’s cool. I’ll take the quiet time.

SM: A lot of these memberships are fraught because people are resentful of giving money to TSA for something that is still bothersome. I only first got PreCheck because I could refund it on my credit card. 

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