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Travel Tips: TSA Pre-Check 101


If you’re anything like me, you’ve seen the TSA Pre-Check line at the airport, become baffled as the shortness of it, and asked yourself, “How do I get in that line?” Well, ask no longer – I am here to report on this traveling anomaly and how you can become a part of the select few who are lucky enough to bypass the standard long airport security lines.

According to, “TSA Pre-Check is one of several intelligence-driven, risk-based initiatives helping TSA move away from a one-size-fits-all model to provide the most effective security in the most efficient way. The use of risk-based initiatives will allow TSA to maintain its high security standards and improve the passenger experience while ensuring as many travelers as possible experience the benefit of expedited screening through the TSA Pre-Check lanes.”

So what does that mean? It basically means that select travelers are invited to complete an application for prescreening to minimize their wait at the airport. This service was initially offered to frequent flyers of the 11 carriers who provide this service (Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, Sun Country Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways and Virgin America). Once word got out, many others were eager to enroll in this elite group. TSA has now opened up applications to customers who meet the following criteria:

  • U.S. citizens of frequent flyer programs who meet TSA-mandated criteria and who have been invited by a participating airline
  • U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents with a Known Traveler Number (KTN), sometimes referred to as a trusted traveler number
  • U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who are members of the TSA Pre-check application program
  • Members of the U.S. Armed Forces, including those serving in the U.S. Coast Guard, Reserves, and National Guard
  • Department of Defense and U.S. Coast Guard civilian employees
  • Members of the following U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) trusted traveler programs:

– All members of Global Entry
– U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents and Canadian citizens who are members of NEXUS
– U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who are members of SENTRI

If you’re interested in submitting an application for TSA Pre-Check, then you can do this online by visiting the TSA website here. There is an $85 non-refundable processing fee. If you are selected to utilize TSA Pre-Check, then you will be sent a Known Travel Number (KTN) within 2-3 weeks. This KTN is what you would enter when booking an airline reservation to identify yourself as a TSA Pre-Check customer. Then when you arrive at the airport, there will be a TSA Pre-Check identifier embedded in the barcode of your airline boarding pass. As a TSA Pre-Check customer you also get to bypass some of the standard security precautions, including removing your shoes, belt and jacket, taking your laptop out of your bag, and also removing your 3-1-1 compliant bag from your carry-on.

One thing is for sure, TSA Pre-Check makes things quick and easy for the regular traveler, and that is definitely a good thing.

– Wendy Lueras, Marketing & Corporate Analytics Manager

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