Why the TSA Pre✓® Line May Be Shorter the Next Time You Fly

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tsa precheck elites

TSA Pre✓® Changes for Airline Elites

TSA Pre✓® is an amazing program. It allows you to bypass the airport scanners, you can keep your shoes and belt on and your laptop doesn’t need to come out of your bag. It really does make the airport security experience more relaxing.

Pretty much since the beginning of the program, elite members of airline frequent flyer programs have been given access. For example, when I was an AAdvantage Platinum member, I received TSA Pre✓® 100% of the time even though I wasn’t yet a trusted traveler.

It seems now that the TSA is going to be tightening things up for airline elite members in an effort to get them to sign up for trusted traveler programs such as Global Entry or Pre✓. In an email sent out to members today, American Airlines said the following:

This month, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is making changes to the TSA Pre✓® Trusted Traveler Program that will impact which travelers receive expedited screening. If you’re not already a member of one of the Trusted Traveler programs like Global Entry or the TSA Pre✓® Application Program, you will probably see a decline in how often you receive expedited screening, even if you’ve previously “opted-in” through a frequent flyer program.

The best way to increase your chances of receiving TSA Pre✓® on a regular basis is to register for a Trusted Traveler Program with the Department of Homeland Security at dhs.gov/tt. Once you receive your Known Traveler Number (KTN) from TSA, be sure you update your AAdvantage profile.

tsa precheck elites
Photo by Atomic Taco

Analysis

This is good news in my opinion since it should mean shorter lines at TSA Pre✓®.  If you don’t have TSA Pre✓® then wholeheartedly recommend Global Entry which is well worth the $100 fee for five years. Not only does it save massive amounts of time when entering the country, but you also get TSA Pre✓® (which costs $85 by itself) and many cards credit the enrollment fee. I got Global Entry for free for my entire family last year with the Ameriprise version of the Amex Platinum for example.

While this letter pertains to AAdvantage, it seems to indicate that these changes will apply to all airlines. I couldn’t find a mention of this change on the TSA Blog or in their press releases (see below), so it will be interesting to see how this works out in practice. Either way, the next time you travel, the TSA Pre✓® line may be shorter than it has been in a while.

Update: Here is an article on the TSA Blog that explains the changes further.


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14 COMMENTS

  1. hi got same email notice today from AA. as platinum they invited me yrs ago, from the beginning. 2 weeks ago Delta Medallion Platinum sent me similar notice w/ an April 7 date. i have an appt. w/ TSA to do fingerprint. seems like a (fair) way for TSA to collect for us; we know the airlines wouldn’t pay if they were asked to.

  2. Is the TSA pre check automatic or do I need to sign up? I have global entry already, but I don’t recall getting precheck the past few times I’ve been at the airport? Thanks!

    • When you book a ticket there is a space for your Known Traveler Id. Put in your Trusted Traveler # from Global Entry and you should get Precheck. The TSA does say though that they reserve the right to make you go through the regular security, but I have received Precheck 100% of the time with my Trusted Traveler # on the reservation.

    • @Ang Make sure to add your Trusted Traveler number from your Global Entry Card to all of your frequent flyer accounts for domestic airlines in order to receive pre-check when you fly. Also, if you have flights already booked you will need to call the airline to have your trusted traveler number added to the ticket, it will not add to your existing bookings retroactively when you add it to your frequent flyer accounts.

    • You’ll need to add your Known Traveller Number (KTN) to your frequent flyer account. Be sure the name on the account exactly matches the one for Global Entry. Then next time you check-in you should see the Pre-Check symbol on your printed or mobile boarding pass.

  3. There’s a simple solution to shortening and speeding up the lines: Stop randomly giving precheck to the kettles! They’re the ones who slow down the line because they still insist on taking their shoes off and taking their laptops out.

    • @Bob “There’s a simple solution to shortening and speeding up the lines: Stop randomly giving precheck to the kettles!”

      Here is a statement found on tsa.gov “We know the majority of travelers present no threat” (Lisa Faberstein, TSA PR spokeswoman)

      Since TSA KNOWS the majority of travelers are not a threat, then EVERYONE should should keep their shoes on, and LGAs in their bags. TSA is talking out of both sides of its mouth when it demands people sign up for precheck, even though TSA openly states “the majority of travelers are not a threat”; a statement with makes Precheck unnecessary.

  4. My experience over Easter was that TSA were shamelessly sending families with kids in the PreCheck line at T8 JFK.
    At HNL you could pick your lane and so people self selected the PreCheck line.
    LAX, with its separate entrance for PreCheck worked fine with the short lines I am used to receiving.
    (Flying on AA each time)

  5. This WILL NOT mean shorter PreCheck lines. TSA will continue to give priority to Managed Inclusion. Precheck lines are packed because of Managed Inclusion.

    There is no need for those invited by the airlines to sign up. Having precheck without signing up demonstrates that the “fingerprints” and “interview” are not needed. TSA is “forcing” people to sign up, because the arbitrary (desired) number of people have not signed up to surrender their privacy in order to not be considered a terrorist.

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