Our home airport is Chicago O’Hare. There are two smaller airports closer to home, but in reality, we almost always end up flying out of O’Hare.
Chicago is busy and the security lines are long. That’s where TSA precheck comes in handy, especially for a family! If you’re thinking of visiting Chicago, see 11 Free Things To Do in Chicago.
The good news is that TSA precheck for children (12 & under) is free when a parent has TSA precheck.
I find after all the planning that goes into a trip, redeeming frequent flyer miles, lining up hotel rewards and finding the most inexpensive rental car, TSA precheck is a welcome relief to start the trip.
What is TSA Precheck?
TSA precheck has a separate security line at the airport. We’ve found it’s almost always significantly shorter. In addition to a shorter line, you can keep your shoes, belt and jacket on. Your laptop can stay in the case and your liquids can stay in your bag.
TSA precheck is not only a time-saver, but very helpful when you are traveling with kids!
The cost to enroll in TSA precheck is $85 for 5 years. However, since you can get this reimbursed by various credit cards, I didn’t pay anything out of pocket for it. I’m always looking for ways to save money on vacation!
TSA Precheck for Children
TSA precheck for children is based on the age of the child:
12 and under. If kids are 12 and under and traveling with a parent or guardian, they’ll get free TSA precheck! To use TSA precheck kids need to be traveling with their parent/guardian who has the indicator printed on their boarding pass. I found when I book our entire family on the same reservation, precheck is printed automatically for my kids too.
13 and up. If kids are 13 and up, they cannot use TSA precheck with their parents. They will either need to go through the regular security line or apply for their own TSA precheck number.
Kids of any age can enroll in TSA precheck. If they enroll, they’ll need to pay the fee too. You’ll need two forms of ID to enroll in TSA precheck.
How to Get TSA Precheck for Free
Both my husband and I got TSA precheck for free from our Citi Prestige cards. It’s the same card we use for our 4th night free to make the Universal Studios On-Site Hotels a Great Deal.
Other cards including the Chase Sapphire Reserve and various American Express cards also reimburse for the TSA application fee.
More on TSA Precheck
TSA with One Parent. My husband got his TSA number a few months before I did. Our flights during the time when only one of us had TSA precheck varied. Sometimes all five of us would get TSA precheck, and sometimes my husband and our three kids would get precheck and I had to go through the regular security line by myself.
Add Your Number to Your Accounts. Once you are approved for TSA precheck, you’ll get a known traveler number. Add this number to your frequent flyer profiles online. When you book a ticket, it should initiate the precheck for your flight automatically.
Global Entry Option. If you apply for Global Entry instead of TSA precheck, you’ll get expedited US customs screening in addition to TSA precheck. The cost for Global Entry is $100. However, kids do not get global entry with their parents; they will need their own Global Entry.
Do you use TSA precheck for your family?