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Does Global Entry TSA pre check really work

This is our first flight using our Global Entry for TSA pre check. We Are leaving USA on Icelandic Air and they did not have a place to put in the PASSID / KTN when purchasing our tickets. Through RS Travel Forum we were able to get very useful tips on how to get our GE PASSID number on our ticket so it would print on our boarding pass. At least this is our hope. Does anyone have any feedback on their recent experiences using their Global Entry pass for TSA pre check? Also for other countries?

Posted by
371 posts

It works well for me. And other countries also honor it for their equivalent service IF they have an agreement with the USA. For example, I as able to bypass the long security checks in a Canadian airport using my USA Pre Check card.

Posted by
6812 posts

Note that not all airlines participate in TSA Pre, although I see IcelandAir is on the TSA list. Never had it work coming back from overseas.

Posted by
3355 posts

Global Entry & TSA pre-check are separate. When you are at the security at your departing home US airport, you can stand on the TSA precheck line. Hopefully, that will be quicker than the general security line.

As for airports internationally, you will be on their general security line when you depart those airports because the TSA has no authority outside of the United States. When you arrive at the US airport in which you will be going through immigration, you can wait on the line for global entry and use a kiosk for expedited entry into the United States.

Posted by
9929 posts

I've had positive experiences getting TSA precheck with GE but I've only flown on Delta and Alaska.

No relief in Europe on getting a break at security.

Surprisingly, got thoroughly questioned by the Border Protection officer coming back in to Seattle including why a woman would be traveling alone, how much money did I have, where did I work and where did I work before I retired...both of the last questions he could see on his screen because they are on the GE application. (sorry, still rant-worthy!).

Posted by
5562 posts

I flew Iceland Air about a month ago. There is a place to put in your known number on the reservation by editing passenger information. Our boarding passes were printed with Pre-check with out difficulties.

Global entry doesn't work for other countries. However, some like the UK have electronic passport gates which make the process quite quick.

Posted by
5770 posts

As stated above, Global Entry and TSA Precheck are two different things. They are unrelated (except that when you pay for Global Entry, you also get TSA Precheck as part of a "trusted traveler" package deal -- otherwise, they operate separately). Both work -- at least they do in most cases/most of the time.

There are exceptions. Not all airlines use TSA Precheck. Not all airports and not all airport gates have TSA Precheck. TSA Precheckmay have limited operating hours. TSA Precheck, when/where it is operational, may not always allow everyone (who otherwise qualifies) to use it -- they intentionally deny Precheck to a small number of randomly selected people (it's just how they roll, they randomize many things to keep everyone on their toes).

Disclaimers and exception aside, both programs generally work, and they both can be a nice convenience. Without them, the lines you will stand in are longer.

Posted by
413 posts

I'm ignorant when it comes to Global Entry. What added advantages does it have compared to MPC (Mobile Passport Control)? MPC is what I use when coming home to bypass the lines. Curious.

Posted by
7718 posts

I just received my Global Entry card today ! I am looking forward to using TSA Pre-Check next week when I leave.

Posted by
171 posts

@Gail, well one thing about Mobile Passport is that it is not at all airports. My home airport is ATL. I loved Mobile Passport and used it often. Then one day.....ATL didn't have Mobile Passport anymore. I uninstalled it from my phone when the pandemic hit and haven't reinstalled it since I haven't returned to the US via any other airport in any of my travels this year or last.

Posted by
23 posts

GE was a disaster when we arrived in IAD and this past Saturday! Half the machines were "out of order" and when we found others working the pictures the computers' took were blacked out! PP basically took our paper from the computer( a black outline) looked at our PP and waved us through. What a mess!

Posted by
3709 posts

I flew Iceland Air about a month ago. There is a place to put in your known number on the reservation by editing passenger information.

This is an improvement, 10 months ago this was not possible.

When available, precheck means shoes/boots and jackets left on, belt left on, magnetic walk thru machine vs arms up wave machine, electronics left in bag, and shorter line.

Both it and GE are really nice😁

Posted by
4746 posts

From the Icelandair website

TSA Precheck is now available with Icelandair. Please contact our Service Center to be able to add your KTN or TSA number to your booking.

It sounds like you need to call them and give them your KTN.

Posted by
2153 posts

We have used Global Entry twice in the past 9 months, in San Diego, returning to the US. The machines operated totally on facial recognition, were all in operation, and it took less than a minute. I never had to place my passport on the screen or my hand for fingerprints. I was a bit shocked that facial recognition was so refined.

When we departed San Diego, our TSA-Pre was recognized by British Airways, so we were able to access those lines.

Safe travels!

Posted by
1940 posts

Gail, I have Global Entry and often travel with friends who don’t. So they use Mobile Passport. Often the time to get through immigration is very similar, even though we are in different lines.. Sometimes GE is faster.

Posted by
127 posts

I flew icelandair in December. When I originally booked my flight, I wasn't able to add my KTN. But, when I was reviewing my tickets/electronic reservation at a later date, I saw where I could enter the info. I got through security very quickly without issue because of the TSA precheck.

Posted by
5770 posts

We have used Global Entry twice in the past 9 months, in San Diego, returning to the US. The machines operated totally on facial recognition, were all in operation, and it took less than a minute. I never had to place my passport on the screen or my hand for fingerprints. I was a bit shocked that facial recognition was so refined.

My spouse and I had the same experience returning home to Seattle recently. No waiting in line, just walk up to the Global Entry kiosks while everybody without Global Entry queued up in long lines to do the formalities. For us, no passport needed, just step up to the machine and let it steal your soul, um, I mean let it scan your face; it immediately spat out a printed receipt that basically said, Welcome home (with my name), you're good to go. No futzing with my passport, no questions, I never even had to enter my name or other details, no face-time with an official, no human interaction at all -- just the very quick face scan and that's it. The entire experience took about 15 seconds.

Thinking about it, they have my photos from previous entry procedures. They knew I was on that particular flight. So the program didn't really have to scan and then match my image from the millions of other faces they have - I assume it's smart enough to anticipate my approximate arrival time, and just look for a match among the (maybe) 50 or 100 other people in their system that they were expecting on flights arriving there around that time, a far simpler task (at least that's how I would design it...). Still, I was impressed at how quickly it was able to ID me and send me on my way. It's a great technology (at least when used in this way...though the implications of facial recognition does have it's darker side).

Posted by
11462 posts

I will tell you the benefit of GE......on my last return to the USA in January, I went from walking off the plane, going through immigration, and walking out of the terminal in 8 minutes. And that's at JFK.

TSA Precheck is quicker, you have to remove less from your bags and person, and is much easier.

Your airline has to be part of Pre-check and Icelandair is. Your boarding pass must sy Pre-check for you tto use the Pre-check line. You don't need to show your GE card.

With Global Entry it doesn't really matter what airline you are one. You don't need to show your GE card.

TSA Precheck and Global Entry aren't good outside the USA except where there is Pre-clearance such as Canada, Ireland and Abu Dhabi. There you go through USA immigration and customs BEFORE your board the plane.

So, is it worth it.....heck yeah.

By the way, for those who have GE, if the machines are down, and you can prove you have GE, they will escort you to the front of the regular line. That's why I carry my GE card. Otherwise it's not necessary.

Posted by
2048 posts

One note on pre-check. Just because you have it does not mean you will get it every time. if you read the TSA information you may randomly be sent to the regular line. Standing at the airport and stomping your feet like a toddler because you didn’t get precheck doesn’t help.

I’m global entry. I do carry my card after a horrible experience in Atlanta where all the kiosks were down. If you asked if you could use the global entry a jerk would scream at you at the top of your lungs no. But a couple of people who had the cards were able to convince him to look at them. He acted like he was doing them the favor of the decade by letting them do what they were supposed to be able to do. But it did work so I will bring my card from now on

Posted by
530 posts

We just returned from a 6 week trip to Europe and Turkey. All flights were on Turkish Airlines from IAH. We cleared TSA Pre-check in in about 2 minutes at IAH. Turkish Airlines said to bring our Global Entry cards to the ticket counter and they would enter our information. On our return to IAH last Thursday night we cleared passport control in about 2 minutes. Took longer to walk from the plane to the control point and out the door. GE is worth every penny.

Posted by
2492 posts

Note we just returned flying from Dublin. Our TSA pre was not applicable for our TSA at Dublin airport, even though printed on our passes, but GE was in effect with a much shorter line. However, it turns out that the TSA screening at Dublin involved only your bag and shoes passing through the X-ray machine with no scanning or X-ray of ourselves, important for me with two artificial hips plus a neck plate, and then passport control was photo scan and compare, nothing else. The big time drain here was the long lines. Before that was Dublin airport security, which was standard, but moved much quicker. At some time after 10 AM on a Tuesday we were under 25 minutes from enter airport to clear Dublin security and head for our border, but then a full hour+ with limited air circulation to be on our way to the gate.

Posted by
8014 posts

We have had Gloral Entry with TSA pre check since it became available. We have renewed them both. It has saved hours on line when we return to the US from abroad and can quickly use the GE machines. We have gone through JFK and LAX in ten minutes.
I always understood that GE was solely for US citizens re entering the US not for use in other countries. We use TSA pre check for all of our US domestic flights.

Posted by
33 posts

We live in Washington so we have the Nexus card. Which not only provides TSA pre check and Global Entry, but also ease of border crossing into Canada (land and air). Great experiences - going on 7 years with Nexus. Renew every 5 years- $50.

Posted by
93 posts

Just came back from Europe and went through immigration at DFW. The global entry line was maybe 5 minutes long as people waited for an available computer. The regular US Citizens line was huge and I can't imagine it was less than 1/2 hour to clear. However, when we came upstairs to re-enter security for our connecting flight, there was no pre-check line. When we asked, it was another 3 minute walk to another security section - which we did use. Otherwise, everyone clearing immigration and customs was funneled to that same security area and it was a zoo. At CDG, we got there early and there was no one in the security lines so we just moved through quickly. Sometimes the general line is shorter than the GE lines, but most people stay in the GE line to clear security. We've always gotten the TSA -precheck on our boarding passes that I can recall.

Posted by
3709 posts

Nexus card. Which not only provides TSA pre check and Global Entry,

A great deal especially for families since children are free, for those who can make it to the border for an interview. The only other drawback is that no credit card provides fee reimbursement.

Posted by
2776 posts

Many credit cards will pay for GE, just do it.

And yes it's creepy that all it wants is your face. I don't currently look like the photo on any of my ID cards (much more handsome now).

Posted by
3709 posts

Supplemental question:

If I have a profile with my KTN in an account at Virgin Atlantic, and the flights that I buy thru Virgin Atlantic.com are on KLM, does the KTN move automatically to KLM with the ticket details. What about passport info?

Posted by
5770 posts

@Tom_MN - Maybe, but you can't rely on all the bits transferring over seamlessly every time (I've had such details fall off a couple times on other airlines; no recent experience with KLM).

Most airlines provide a fairly discoverable place to enter (or view, partially obfuscated) your passport number and USGEOS TTN. Typically you can see these existing values (if any) and add/update them if missing, via something like "Manage My Booking" on the airlines website. You can also provide them at the check-in counter, of course, and they'll print you a new boarding pass if needed. It's always best to get these into the system before you head to the airport if you can -- reduced the task load for everyone.

Posted by
223 posts

Note that neither Global Entry or TSA Precheck status guarantee that you will get "TSA Pre" on flights departing US airports (domestic or internationally). You still may randomly get a boarding pass without TSA Pre, it's just unlikely.

However, for GE all I've needed to do re-entering the US is to belly up to the kiosk, scan my passport, answer some customs queries on the touch screen, and let it scan my face.

Posted by
31 posts

Going through the immigration using the dedicated Global Entry line is definitely faster as the line is much shorter; at least that's the case for me at SFO airport before the pandemic.

Posted by
493 posts

I don't fly enough to bother w/GE, but I do have TSA Precheck.

And Mobile Passport.

Both times, coming back from Europe with MP, I beat GE people - 2019 at EWR and last October at JFK, as the MP line dumps into the GE line - and GE folks were busy with their kiosks, while I had filled out my lading card in the app. For FREE? Yeah, I'll take MP all day long.

Posted by
3709 posts

Carol: thanks, I just applied for the Preferred card but my GE is only 2-1/2 years old. The United Discover card paid for that. There’s no interview time games with getting appointments at Canadian border stations, but it is a hike to drive there.

Posted by
7718 posts

For FREE? Yeah, I'll take MP all day long.

Indeed, it's a great option if it is in use at the airport where you enter. If it's not (like at ATL), you're SOL

Posted by
682 posts

Alan J—very true. We have Global and on our flight to Iceland in February they wouldn’t let us use the dedicated line. We showed them everything yet they made us go to the other area with everyone else. Our boarding passes even had it marked, but the guy was having none of it.

Posted by
321 posts

I really appreciate TSA Pre Check because I don't have to take things out of my carry-on and the process is quick and easy. Ironically, I often travel with people who don't have it and still end up waiting for them. Haven't used my Global Entry privileges yet.

Posted by
70 posts

One note on pre-check. Just because you have it does not mean you will get it every time. if you read the TSA information you may randomly be sent to the regular line. Standing at the airport and stomping your feet like a toddler because you didn’t get precheck doesn’t help.

Where does it say this? I have had pre-check or GE since 2015 and fly for work at least 2x a month and have never not had it on my boarding pass (except once with Hawaiian airlines due to a glitch in their system, nothing to do with TSA). It really doesn't happen, unless you forget to add your number when you are booking your ticket with a new airline.

Posted by
2048 posts

Where does it say this? I have had pre-check or GE since 2015 and fly for work at least 2x a month and have never not had it on my boarding pass (except once with Hawaiian airlines due to a glitch in their system, nothing to do with TSA). It really doesn't happen, unless you forget to add your number when you are booking your ticket with a new airline.

Right on their webpage!

https://www.tsa.gov/precheck/faq

If I am TSA PreCheck® eligible, am I guaranteed expedited screening?
No, TSA uses unpredictable security measures, both seen and unseen, throughout the airport. All travelers will be screened, and no individual is guaranteed expedited screening.

Posted by
70 posts

Where does it say this? I have had pre-check or GE since 2015 and fly for work at least 2x a month and have never not had it on my boarding pass (except once with Hawaiian airlines due to a glitch in their system, nothing to do with TSA). It really doesn't happen, unless you forget to add your number when you are booking your ticket with a new airline.
Right on their webpage!
https://www.tsa.gov/precheck/faq
If I am TSA PreCheck® eligible, am I guaranteed expedited screening?
No, TSA uses unpredictable security measures, both seen and unseen, throughout the airport. All travelers will be screened, and no individual is guaranteed expedited screening.

Right, it doesn't guarantee expedited screening - you can always be scanned, patted down, have your bags gone through, etc. It does guarantee you get to go through the Pre-Check line. That isn't the same thing.

Posted by
682 posts

Joy--No, that is what happened thus. We had it on our boarding pass and we were still not allowed ion the TSA pre line. That has only happened once, but it happened.