Chase Sapphire Reserve℠

Is TSA Precheck Better than the First Class Security Line?

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

TPG reader Cameron tweeted me to ask

@thepointsguy – “If I have access to both the first class priority and TSA Precheck security lines, which is usually better?”

I love TSA Precheck. I’ve had it for several years now, and even though some airports are bad at policing the line and TSA often allows random people in, they recently announced they would be cracking down and cutting off people who haven’t actually applied for the program (via Global Entry or through TSA directly).

If you have access to both the Precheck line and the priority line, I would almost always say go with Precheck. Even if the Precheck line is a bit longer, it usually moves faster because you don’t have to take off your jacket or shoes. It will also help you to avoid the “nudescope” body scanner machines that let TSA see, well, everything that you’re offering.

Avoid these kinds of lines with TSA Precheck. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
Avoid these kinds of lines with TSA Precheck. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

In fact, just a few weeks ago two naughty TSA agents were caught using the scanners for inappropriate activity, so if you have Precheck you may be able to avoid this.

If you enjoy your privacy, then go in the TSA Precheck line. In fact, my suggestion would be to get Global Entry ($100) so you automatically get Precheck — you just have to enter your Known Traveler Number into your frequent flyer profile. There are many credit cards out there offering reimbursement for your Global Entry application fee, so it’s not hard to get. Make sure to check out my most recent post on tips for getting Global Entry and Precheck.

Here are the cards that currently offer Global Entry reimbursement:

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook, or send me an email at

Citi Prestige® Card

Apply Now
  • $250 Air Travel Credit each year, and receive a statement credit, up to $100 every 5 years, as reimbursement for your application fee for Global Entry or TSA Pre √®
  • 4th night hotel benefit for any hotel stay at hotels booked through the Citi Prestige® Concierge.
  • Earn 40,000 bonus points after $4,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.
  • Points are redeemable for a $532 flight on any airline or $400 in gift cards.
  • Transfer points to a variety of travel loyalty programs from airlines to hotels.
  • Earn 3x points on Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 2x points on Dining at Restaurants and Entertainment
  • 1 ThankYou® Point per $1 spent on other purchases
Intro APR Regular APR Annual Fee Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Rating
N/A 15.49%* (Variable) $450 0% Excellent Credit