A Complete TSA Overview With Helpful Infographic

TSA Precheck

Is TSA Precheck worth it” is one of the most common questions among travelers? Most people consider going through TSA security lines a dreadful task.

Once you learn what TSA Precheck is and how signing up for it can help you save a significant amount of time and effort at airport security, you will change your mind.

With TSA Precheck, you can use a dedicated security line at more than 200 airports when flying. Keep scrolling to learn how TSA Precheck significantly streamlines the airport security process.

What is TSA Precheck?

TSA Precheck is typically a government membership service that enables you to avail yourself of dedicated screening and security lines at airports. If you’re an approved member of the program, you get a Known Traveler Number. The number indicates airlines that you have signed up for TSA Precheck and are eligible for the benefits of TSA Precheck.

Add a Known Traveler Number to your tickets to earn TSA Precheck and use special security lanes when boarding.

Difference between TSA Clear and TSA Precheck

While TSA Precheck is a “Trusted Traveler Program” for a quick move through airport screening and security, CLEAR is a private membership program and airport security technology. The following are the distinguishing features of TSA Precheck and CLEAR.

CLEAR vs. TSA Precheck

  • A commercial company provides CLEAR; however, TSA Precheck is a government program.
  • TSA Precheck speeds up the physical screening procedure, whereas CLEAR speeds up the document/identity screening.
  • A five-year membership of TSA Precheck costs $78, while a CLEAR membership charges $189 annually.

Travelers may use both programs depending on their preference; however, TSA Precheck is more cost-effective and savvy.

TSA Precheck Benefits

According to a TSA spokesman, TSA Precheck has pushed over 55 million passengers through dedicated security lines over the previous few years. Using dedicated security lines is the most significant benefit of signing up for TSA Precheck.

You can arrive in a Precheck queue while wearing your shoes, belt, and lightweight outerwear. You won’t need to empty your carry-on luggage to get your devices like computers, tablets, and quart-sized plastic bags. These features are valuable if you’re a frequent traveler and meet all the TSA Precheck requirements.

How much does TSA Precheck Cost?

This may sound surprising to you, but there is no cost of TSA Precheck. You only have to pay around $78 as an application fee when you apply. 

You will only get this fee back if your application is accepted. It is because the fee covers the TSA operational cost for background checks. Numerous credit cards and loyalty programs offer to pay for or reimburse this expense. The TSA also keeps a list of the initiatives.

Does Renewing TSA Precheck Cost You?

Depending on the mode of renewal, this may vary. The TSA reduced the renewal fee in 2021 from $85 to $70 for those who renew online, but it remains $78 for those who renew personally at an enrollment facility. The renewal procedure stays active up to six months before the expiration date.

How to Get TSA Precheck

The application process for TSA Precheck can be started via the Department of Homeland Security website. You can add your primary personal data, such as name, address, height, eye color, date of birth, and other identifying details.

You can utilize the DHS’ enrollment center finding tool to locate one of the roughly 500 TSA enrollment centers, and this first step, which doesn’t take more than five minutes, also entails making an in-person appointment there.

The TSA estimates that this following in-person stage will take 10 minutes, but the process may go much faster and require less questioning. In addition to providing a few forms of identification, as an applicant, you will be fingerprinted as a part of a background investigation.

Once you become an approved traveler, you will get a KTN through an email. You’re permitted to use it immediately.

Nexus, Sentri, or Global Entry participants are exempt from completing this application process. Ensure you avoid Precheck frauds that fabricate a fake official website to phish for information.

How Long does TSA Precheck last

According to TSA Precheck officials, TSA Precheck lasts for five years. The agency notifies the travelers 6, 3, and 2 weeks before the expiration date.

TSA Precheck has become increasingly popular among travelers to speed through and simplify the airport security process because it frequently involves long lineups and bothersome, intrusive regulations. Thus, once you know the difference between clear and TSA Precheck, you can also sign up to get the benefits.

How to Fly with a Gun

Travel preparation is an essential aspect of planning vacations or work trips. People who want to travel with a gun should be aware of the rules the TSA implements.

According to Travelers United,  the TSA authorities stopped more than 5,972 firearms in 2021. In addition to that, the recent TSA report showed that the number of weapons or firearms confiscated in a carry-on is luggage increases yearly.

It further highlighted that roughly 90% of weapons smuggled via security lines were undetected. There are about 40,000 firearms that fly in the American airlines annually, which makes ten firearms a day on average.

Although there was no evidence of terrorist “intent,” many people flying with a gun seem to “forget” that their carry-on luggage contains a weapon. In other cases, many travelers don’t know how to fly with a firearm or the travel rules of TSA.

That is to say; you need to follow specific firearm rules to carry a gun to avoid the penalties. These rules may vary depending on local and state laws. If you own a weapon and are planning to carry it in your luggage, keep reading to find everything you need about American airline’s gun policy.

Do You Need a Permit to Fly With a Gun

To answer the question precisely, yes. Declaring the unloaded and secured weapon to a TSA agent is mandatory when traveling with a gun. Even if you have firearm parts rather than a fully built gun, make sure you disclose and secure it with the TSA authority. 

How to Fly with a Firearm- Know the TSA Rules

Unloaded guns may only be brought on board as checked baggage in a lockable, hard-sided container. At the ticket desk, declare the gun to the airline and your other checked luggage. The container must entirely enclose the handgun and bar access to it.

Note that locked bags that are simple to open are not allowed. If you transport a firearm in checked luggage, the container it was in at the time of purchase might not be sufficient to secure it. That means you must use a rugged casing that is easy to lock on transporting the firearm. It is especially true if it is intended to be used for travel.

Be sure to disclose it at the ticket counter if the case you use to secure the weapon is small or fits inside a giant bag. Remember that ALL firearm components, except rifle scopes, are not permitted in carry-on luggage and must be checked.

What about the weapons or training tools like airsoft, Blueguns®, and SIRT pistols?

You need to check or examine those weapons as well. However, not all airlines permit to carry these firearms. Thus, it is better to verify them with the airline you’re traveling in, as each airline is subject to different rules related to flying with a gun.

Firearms Cases You can Use for Traveling on Airplanes.

TSA has specific things to look for regarding the case you use to pack your weapon. You may find the following information regarding the case you should pack on TSA’s websites.

  • Unless TSA officials ask for the key to unlocking the gun box to ensure conformity with TSA standards, only the passenger should keep the key or combination to the lock.
  • Firearms

But flying with firearms involves more than just packing them in a sturdy case. Many gun industry specialists emphasize looking for the following features in the weapons.

  • A hard-sided pistol case that is robust enough to hold its shape when a heavy object is placed on top of it.
  • Padlocks in each hole on the pistol case with short shanks that lock with a key.
  • Gun cases that are specifically designed to protect firearms during shipping, not just any sturdy case.
  • Padlocks that are tight enough that a hand cannot fit between the open edges of the gun case while they are locked (this prevents a gun from being shaken out of a case).
  • Gun casings are designed to endure the force of an airplane’s cargo compartment without causing damage to the weapon itself.
  • Wheeled gun cases, as they are more portable.

Remember that the airline, the particular airport, and the TSA employee who checks the bag will all impact the stringent rules when checking a case with a weapon.

 “How to fly with a gun” is one of the most common concerns of people flying with a firearm. Thus, ensure you’re aware of the rules to reduce the risks of violating American airline’s gun policy.


Having complete knowledge of what you can or can’t take with you when traveling can help facilitate the screening process at the airport. TSA has provided important carry-on rules with allowed and prohibited items carefully analyzed for the benefit of all travelers.

Some categories that these items can fall into are:

  • Generally allowed items.
  • Generally prohibited items.
  • Items that are allowed in checked bags but not in carry-ons.
  • Items that are allowed in carry-ons but have special instructions that must be adhered to.
  • Liquids that are allowed in carry-ons but have certain weight restrictions.

The categories listed above shows that you shouldn’t stop at only checking if an item is generally allowed, it must also be confirmed from the specific airline and TSA if there’s a weight restriction or any other special instruction attached to that item / liquid.

It is important to note that the final decision rests with the TSA officer on whether an item is allowed through the checkpoint. This is because even if an item is generally permitted, it may not be allowed through the checkpoint or may be subject to additional screening if it appears to have been tampered with, if it triggers an alarm during the screening process, or poses other security concerns. For items you wish to add in your carry-on, you should always check with the airline before date to ensure that it will fit in the overhead bin or underneath your seat.

Below is a simplified list of allowed and prohibited items (including regulations surrounding them):

  • Tools that are 7 inches long or less in length are allowed. Items measuring 4 inches or less from the pivot point are also permitted. Sharp objects should be well covered.
  • Nonflammable liquids, gels, and aerosols are allowed. Food, drinks, and toiletries are also allowed in your carry-on. Liquid aerosols or gel has to be in a 3.4-ounce or less sized container and fit together in one quart-size clear zippered plastic bag. Exceptions to these rules are medically required liquids, like insulin and baby formula.
  • Travelers are allowed to carry one book of safety matches and common lighters. However, matches that can be lit by striking dry or rough surfaces are prohibited in carry-ons. It is important to note that NO matches, including safety matches, is allowed in checked baggage.
  • Dry batteries (AA, AAA, C, and D) are generally allowed items. Lithium batteries with 100 watt hours or less that are in a device can be in your carry-on or checked bag but loose lithium batteries can only be put in the carry-on.
  • Materials used for crocheting and needlepoint are generally allowed. Be sure to wrap knitting needles carefully to avoid injuring luggage handlers and inspectors.
  • It’s advisable to leave presents unwrapped because wrapped presents are unraveled during screening. There’s an exception for wrapped presents that meet safety and security regulations, as those are allowed.
  • Items like cell phones that are smaller than a standard-size laptop do not need to be removed from your bag during screening, unlike large electronics, like laptops and video games that must be removed from their cases, and screened individually.
  • Prescribed and over the counter drugs in unspecified quantities can be in your carry-on. Other medical necessities and items used for medical or cosmetic reasons can also be packed but are subject to additional screening.
  • If you’re traveling with a little child or baby, baby food and equipment are allowed on board. Though they must be removed from your carry-on luggage before going through security, because they are subject to additional screening.
  • A wedding dress can be taken through security and on to the flight. Carefully and thoroughly pack the dress in a protected garment bag. Also, you should arrive early to the airport to ensure that you communicate with the airline agent about stowing the dress aboard and, find out if it carries an extra charge.
  • You need to contact the airline for their pets policy, but pets are allowed to travel with passengers through security check points, although they need to be taken out of their carrier (which will also need to go through security) and screened by security.
  • Many pieces of sporting equipment are not allowed as carry-on luggage and has to be transported in checked baggage, with the exception of balls. However, there are exceptions, check your airline for details as it varies by airline.
  • Self defense items are not allowed past security, including martial arts weapons.
  • Even though solid wax candles are allowed in a carry-on and checked bag, gel-like candles can only be transported via checked bags.
  • Beverages that have more than 70 percent alcohol content like grain alcohol and 151 proof rum, cannot be checked or taken onto the plane in your carry-on bag. However, if you want to bring more than that, you may pack in your checked baggage up to five liters of adult beverages in unopened retail packaging.
  • Flammable items like aerosol cans (this does not include limited quantities of personal care items that are 3.4 ounces or less) cannot be transported in any way on passenger airlines.
  • Passengers are not allowed to carry explosive materials or replicas of explosive materials onboard aircrafts.
  • Chemicals are considered unsafe and are prohibited on commercial passenger aircrafts.
  • Outdoor and wildlife safety products are not allowed on commercial aircrafts.