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Is TSA’s PreCheck Status Worth It?

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(credit: CBS) Esme Murphy
Esme Murphy, a reporter and Sunday morning anchor for WCCO-TV, h...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — If you’ve been to the airport recently, you’ve probably seen people breezing through the PreCheck security lines.

The attractiveness of having PreCheck status is growing as MSP Airport is now advising travelers to get to the airport two and a half hours early.

That warning comes as long security lines are resulting in more missed flights at MSP. But how can travelers obtain get PreCheck status? And is it worth it?

The most common way to get PreCheck status is to apply online, pay $85, get fingerprinted and make an appointment to get a criminal background check.

But as Esme Murphy found out, getting that appointment is not easy. She went to the TSA website to apply and, after filling out some personal information, was asked to make an in-person appointment.

The website said the TSA offices in Roseville, St. Cloud and MSP had no available appointments. The Duluth office had appointments, but the first one wasn’t until April 9 at 1:30 p.m.

A TSA spokesperson told WCCO that while there may not be any appointments, they do take walk-ins. WCCO went to the Roseville office, where those in line said they were told to expect a wait time of at least two hours.

Back at MSP, PreCheck travelers like Dallas businessman Tom McCurry said any hassle is worth getting the status.

“[I'm] always in a hurry, and this just shaves off a lot of time,” McCurry said. “It’s just a great deal for me.”

The TSA says having PreCheck status does not guarantee that you’ll get into the special line; random passengers deemed as low risk and military members on active duty may end up in the line as well.

PreCheck status is good for five years.

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