TYOLD Day 78: And Don’t Call Me Shirley

I hate flying, but only partially because of my paralyzing fear of heights and plane crashes and overly cheery flight attendants in no-wrinkle drip-dry.

Mostly it’s because I hate the process of having to get to the airplane. Completely lacking in anything even remotely resembling patience, as I am, and convinced, as I am again, that life is really just one long line that, instead of ending, just keeps moving to different places, airports are like the seventh circle of hell to me.

I fly more than the Average Joe it seems.  The research I read said about 12% of the US population takes more than five flights per year and I usually do 5 or 6.  Most of that is Vegas but I also go to Chicago every Memorial Day and then try to go to one or two other places at some point.  This year, for instance, I will probably be going to my 30 year high school reunion (ouch… it type that) and I may also go to either New Orleans or Savannah (maybe both!).

Because of that frequency, when I heard about the new TSA Pre-Check program I said “sign me up.”  Basically what you do is fill out a form and then go to a local identity verification office to get fingerprinted, show your passport, and pay an $85 fee (which I did today – different!).  That gets you a “Known Traveler Number” that gets used every time you book a flight and, when you are at participating airports and on participating airlines (which is most, but not all of them), you get to skip the regular security screening line and procedures.  There is a separate, usually much shorter, line and you don’t have to take off your shoes, belt, or jackets and you can leave your computer in your bag.  In places like Burbank airport where I often fly out of that isn’t going to be that big of a deal because the security lines are rarely very long.  But in someplace like Vegas or Chicago, it could save me 30 minutes or more.

You can visit the TSA website for more information.

Surely, you want to save time at the airport?

shirley