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TSA PreCheck

In the past 2 months I was given TSA PreCheck status on 2 different airlines for domestic flights. So was my husband -- on the same 2 airlines, but totally different flights. I was told I might not always get it. He was told that once you get it, you will always get it.

My questions:
1. Which answer is the correct one?
2. Does it apply to overseas flights?

Posted by
9110 posts

Tell what's-his-face to take a flying leap.

If you get an airline used to you, have an ffn, buy tickets on their website, that airline participates in the program, etc -- you'll usually make out.

With another (newish to you) airline you will have to stick your ktn in the field. Getting a Known Traveler Number is another discussion, but it'd show up with a google.

Computers being computers, sometimes you've thought all the boxes were checked, but it doesn't pop up for a particular flight. There's a way to remedy it, but I've never thought it was worth the bother for the odd flight.

The above applies to international outbound flights as well. Obviously TSA doesn't operate in other nations so it's a no-go coming back. The time-saver inbound is Global Entry.

Posted by
4990 posts

1) You might not always get selected for it; you won't know until you get your boarding pass.
2) It used to not apply to international flights, but I just checked their FAQs and it looks like that is no longer the case; the FAQs say it applies to outbound flights.

Posted by
13056 posts

TSA is now offering Pre-check to some passengers who did not sign up for the program. The selection process is "secret" but it has lots to do with your flight history, random selection, whether or not the TSA person at the head of the line sends you over, etc.

However, just because you get it once doesn't mean you'll always get it. Even those who were vetted for Pre-Check may occasionally not get it.

Pre-check applies to all flights on participating airlines. Not all airlines participate and there are very few non-U.S. airlines that do.

In other words, even though I have Global Entry and automatically qualify for pre-check, I won't get it if I'm flying on a non-participating airline. (at least in theory.)

Posted by
22593 posts

If you are enrolled in the TSA PreCheck or Global entry program AND you have registered your "Trusted traveler number" with a participating airline (and you have to do it with each airline), you will get the PreCheck lego on your boarding pass about 99% of the time - at least from our experience. The information says that occasionally you not on a random basis get the PreCheck but we have received it every time since enrolling in the Global entry program including out bound foreign travel. However, the Trusted traveler number has to be in your profile with the airline or entered for every ticket you buy. I don't know what happens if your buy your ticket through a third party. We also buy from the airline direct.

The TSA is pushing hard for enrollment in the PreCheck program. Have not heard of non-enrolled travelers getting PreCheck status but anything with the TSA is possible. Actually think this is one TSA program that is worth the money.

Posted by
17973 posts

Also, my wife got it and I did not, but I still beat her through the security line at O'hare. Nyah! Nyah!

Posted by
2448 posts

Non enrolled travelers are being shoved to precheck as fast as the TSA can do it....

Resulting in LONG lines at precheck as the newly selected take off their shoes and remove their laptops.. (Apparently they are all deaf and can't hear the screaming TSA agents or they, like most travelers, have become immune to screaming TSA agents. After you get screamed at for so long you just tune out the screamer LOL!)

Posted by
22593 posts

...Non enrolled travelers are being shoved to precheck as fast as the TSA can do it.....

I don't understand that statement. Since the TSA is charging $80 for enrolling in PreCheck why would TSA be putting people for free into the PreCheck program? Supposedly there is a background check for the PreCheck status. We have never encountered long lines with PreCheck. Sometimes it will be four or five but mostly a straight walk through. Just back from New York and LGA where it was a breeze in the Delta terminal. The Denver precheck line is actually a double once inside with no delay at all. And it worked well in Chicago several months ago so where are all the big lines? Will be in Atlanta in August so I guess we will find out if Atlanta is the exception.

Posted by
5675 posts

I never enrolled, but have been getting PreCheck since around the first of the year. I've assumed it's because I'm a lifetime Gold member for American Airlines having paid my travel dues with 1 million plus miles on AA. It has transferred to Delta as I've gotten it flying Delta as well. But when I check AA my profile does not show it. So who knows what' going on!

Posted by
3866 posts

The first time I got TSA PreCheck was on an Alaska flight from SEA to TUS. I asked the gate agent to explain how it it happened. She said they started doing it around Christmas to help move people through the lines faster. By "it" I mean giving PreCheck status to people who have not applied for it or paid any money. She also said that when you get a ticket, your identity is checked and those who look good are the ones most likely to be given the PreCheck.

Neither my husband nor I are frequent flyers on any airline. Both of us are probably well-documented due to our work histories. We are both over 65. Who knows if those are check boxes or not? It's a mystery.

Posted by
7749 posts

TSA doesn't issue your tickets, the airline does. My last flight, I had it printed on my boarding pass going out but not back. Wife's was the opposite. I was told by Southwest that they were selecting people randomly to give it a try and encourage use of it.

Posted by
16890 posts

I was nicely surprised to get the PreCheck line before boarding my Delta flight last fall from Seattle to Paris and my parents got the same a few weeks later. But I did not get it flying Alaska from Seattle to Newark in January. TSA likes to "change it up" and "keep it fresh," so nobody gets too comfortable.

Posted by
1976 posts

I heard on my local news recently that the reason why some people enrolled in PreCheck don't get it for every flight is because of terrorism. The TSA selects PreCheck enrollees at random: "There will be a certain number of times when you might be opted out because we keep a certain number of uncertainty in our processes to keep the bad guy on edge to not know exactly how our processes work," said Sari Koshetz with the TSA.

Posted by
2448 posts

A few things.

  1. The airlines do not randomly select you for precheck... What they do is send the list of everyone who bought a ticket to the TSA and they do the random selection.
  2. The TSA is charging, they think they way to get you to think this is great to pay for is to give it away for free to "randomly" selected passengers. In additon, if they get backed up watch them, the "well trained" (LOL!) agents start judgementally shoving folks to precheck. (Having kids seems to help, because the TSA firmly believes terrorists don't have families!)
  3. You can increase your odds of precheck by being an elite level flyer or by putting in your Global Entry type data into your airline profile, but in theory those passegers are subject to being "randomly" sent to the normal lines.
Posted by
71 posts

My husband and I were given TSA pre-check when we were coming off a cruise last fall. It was a situation where we had our luggage automatically sent to the airlines from the ship and we didn't have to check our luggage ourselves. But, since then, we both flew to Florida in the spring. He was given TSA pre-check and I was not. He just flew to Texas and did not have TSA on his ticket. Go figure ... We did not sign up for it so we can't complain. It was nice though....