The baggage area at the Des Moines airport.

Today is expected to be one of the busiest travel days of the year and many savvy Iowa air travelers are spending a little extra for a big convenience.

Kevin Foley, executive director of the Des Moines Airport Authority, says TSA Pre-Check allows for expedited security screenings, which is a big plus as the regular line for X-rays and screenings may be many hundreds of people long.

“You don’t have to take your shoes off, you don’t have to take your coat off, you don’t have to worry about taking your laptop out of the bag,” Foley says. “You don’t have to take hardly anything out of your bags so the throughput is much greater and even though the lines are growing a little bit, they still have a set goal of no more than a five minute wait in that Pre-Check line.”

The cost of TSA Pre-Check is $85 for a five-year pass. “People often ask me, ‘I only fly once a year, is Pre-Check worth it?’,” Foley says. “If you fly once a year and Precheck ends up costing you $15 a year, that’s $7.50 when you go out from Des Moines and $7.50 when you come back and it’s worth every penny.” To sign up for TSA Pre-Check, you’ll need to fill out a form, make an appointment to be fingerprinted and have a background check run. If approved, you’ll be issued a KTN or Known Traveler Number which you can use when booking a flight.

If you’re planning on air travel to other countries, Foley has another suggestion. “Global Entry is the Customs and Border Protection side of things,” Foley says, “but it includes Pre-Check as well and it gets you through Customs if you’re going internationally, kind of in the similar process as Pre-Check.” Global entry costs $250 and also lasts five years. Learn more about both programs at tsa-dot-gov.