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TSA Pre-Chek policy change?

During the past few years, my wife and I have routinely gotten into the Pre-Chek lane without have applied, paid $85, etc. I think this might be age-related. Recently, I read something that suggested that would not happen again because of a change in TSA policy and that the only way to get Pre-Chek was to apply and pay for it. But then relatives who flew domestically in the past week told me they got into Pre-Chek and they haven't applied and paid. What have others experienced in May or June 2016? Is free Pre-Chek still occurring, including on overseas flights?

Thanks.

Posted by
3418 posts

think the number of flyers who get 'free' pre-check status has been reduced due to the increased number of people buying it. It is simply 'supply and demand'. What would really help you on international flights is to get Global Entry. It includes free pre-check and will save you some time , especially upon arriving back in the USA.

Posted by
11613 posts

I have gotten random pre-checks for the past five years, but not this past May. However, when I showed my boarding pass to the person at the security check, she put me in the pre-check line, so randomness still happens.

Posted by
5916 posts

I think TSA ended their promotional program a while ago because it was counter-productive. I used to get it about 1/2 the time. I think the airlines were being allowed a certain number of semi-random pre-checks, in order to encourage people to apply for Pre-Check. My understanding was that allowing too many unprepared or unfamiliar travelers to have access to pre-check was clogging those lines, and irritating those who had paid for the privilege.

Posted by
2 posts

I've never gotten pre-check before, and I've certainly never applied for anything like this, but today I flew with Valerie (who has Global Entry) and got pre-checked. I have a hunch it has something to do with her status as we were on a single reservation, but I'm not sure - it may be that I just finally got lucky enough to keep my shoes on this time.

Posted by
12418 posts

We've been randomly chosen for pre-check (domestic) as recently as last month so it still occurs. I'm not sure why but it's possible that we look like we know what we're doing (regulation carryons; necessary documents in hand; coats already off; etc.) so won't hold up a line. Then again, we've both been pulled for random security patdowns and luggage searches so...

It's interesting that some of the most intense security go-overs we've experienced have been at small airports: Bangor, Maine; Grand Junction, CO; Santa Fe, N.M, etc. Random or registered pre-check in Santa Fe or not, they wiped literally everyone down for trace substances. Discovered upon arriving at home that both of our checked bags had been gone through as well.

Posted by
242 posts

I've had it for a few years without applying or paying. It stopped abruptly this past April. Minor inconvenience. One airport didn't even have the line open.

Posted by
242 posts

I've had it for a few years without applying or paying. It stopped abruptly this past April. Minor inconvenience. One airport didn't even have the line open.

Posted by
256 posts

We went through pre check May 7th at Dulles and May 13 at St. Thomas. We must look harmless!!

Posted by
3460 posts

The TSA just wants to keep everybody guessing about how they will be treated at the airport. :-)

I have noticed that if the TSA Pre lane is not very busy, there seem to be more people sent there from the main lanes at the airports I go through. At peak business times, no one is being sent over. Many of my traveling partners at work have not paid for TSA Pre and still get it on their boarding passes printed at home for many flights. I have paid, yet don't get it every time (about 1 of 10 flights on the same airline I end up in the regular lane because there is no Pre indicator on the boarding pass). When the Pre lane is closed, just showing my boarding pass with the Pre indicator on it lets me get Pre -like treatment in the normal lanes (keep my shoes on, don't have to unpack my laptop, get to go through metal detector instead of scanner).

Posted by
167 posts

I have always received the TSA precheck when flying with American Airlines. Other airlines that I fly, United, British, Lufstansa have not gotten the TSA precheck.
The benefits of having the TSA pre-check are important enough to me to make sure it is not a matter of chance or airlines, I want to be SURE I have a TSA pre-check on my boarding pass.
So I recently went through the process of the fee , fingerprint, and check to be sure I always have this. Some folks have complained about the $85 fee, but the TSA pre-check is for 5 years, so the $17 per year is well worth it IMO.

Posted by
1005 posts

I got Pre-Check when I flew to London last month even though I have never signed up. I am part of Delta's frequent flyer program and have been for many years, and I've gotten the free Pre-Check status many times in the past. So they are still "giving it away" on occasion.

Posted by
9652 posts

Ann, you will not get Pre-Check (officially) when flying British Airways or Lufthansa as they are not part of the program. So far, it's only available on airlines from the USA, Canada and now Mexico but not all of the airlines from those countries.

Posted by
116 posts

The past few times we have flown, we always have gotten precheck, but we have not signed up for the program. We are currently traveling and received precheck with United and Delta. It's great having this for free, will not purchase, but always a nice surprise when it shows on our boarding pass. Sounds like its random and we have been lucky.

Posted by
7535 posts

I got it more often than my husband the past several years, in March neither of us were pre-check worthy, but last month he got it but I didn't.

Posted by
128 posts

I flew from Denver to Dallas on 5/24 on Southwest and got Pre-Check. Then on June 2 I flew from Austin to Denver on United and also got Pre-Check. I was told that it just happens randomly and the agents who checked me in had no control over it. Sure makes it easier going through the security line. I fly often, but I don't think I would ever pay $85 for it though.