Getting the Most out of Your TSA Benefits

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(March, 2019)

TSA PreCheck is a well-known, fairly inexpensive option for frequent travelers to get through preliminary security screening faster, allowing you to get to your gate on time. Some benefits of TSA PreCheck include getting an exclusive security lane, not having to remove items from your carry-on bag, and not having to remove shoes or other clothing. At $85 for a five-year membership, frequent flyers may find the cost well worth the trouble they save.

However, even with TSA PreCheck membership, there may be reasons you don’t receive all PreCheck has to offer. Knowing what you need to do ahead of time can help you avoid this loss of benefits.

  1. Make sure your ‘Known Traveler Number’ is in your profile and connected to your airline account. When you first sign up for PreCheck, you will be assigned a Known Traveler Number. This number is key to verifying your identity and that you’ve already met security qualifications. Make sure you log on to all airline loyalty accounts and add your Known Traveler Number to the “Secure Traveler” section. You cannot use the PreCheck lane if your boarding pass doesn’t say TSA Pre, even if you have other proof of membership.
  2. You book with an airline that doesn’t participate in TSA PreCheck. While the number of non-participating airlines is growing smaller, there are still some who do not participate. As of the time of this publication, the following carriers do NOT support TSA PreCheck:
  • China Southern Airlines
  • China Eastern Airlines
  • EasyJet
  • EgyptAir
  • Norwegian Airlines
  • Qatar Airways
  • Ryanair
  • Iceland Air
  1. Make sure your boarding pass shows TSA PreCheck, and that you are in the TSA PreCheck lane. While this one may seem obvious, if you are in an airport that is unfamiliar to you, you could find yourself in the wrong lane by mistake. Read the signs, and ask a security agent for assistance.
  2. TSA PreCheck lanes aren’t always available. TSA PreCheck security lanes open and close at varying times, depending on the airport. If you are flying at an odd time of day, or sometimes during lunch or dinner breaks, you may find there are no PreCheck lanes open for use due to lack of TSA security personnel. You can review the TSA Checkpoint Schedule here. There is also an app, MyTSA, which is a great resource for finding out what checkpoints are open and current wait times, along with other important information.

If you check your boarding pass and don’t see “TSA Pre” written on it, the airline’s ticketing desk may print a new ticket for you. It is also important to make sure that your name matches exactly on TSA PreCheck and how you book your flights.

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