The Travel Lowdown: TSA Pre-Check

Rejoice TSA Pre-Check holders: Lufthansa just joined Etihad Airways as the only two airlines based outside of North America to offer TSA Pre-Check to flyers. This means that qualified passengers on Lufthansa flights departing from the US will now be able to go through expedited security screening.

The TSA Pre-Check program has been steadily growing in popularity to over 3 million customers, largely due to reports of long wait times in airport security lines. This has encouraged airlines based outside of North America to consider extending Pre-Check privileges to their customers, and has also prompted the TSA to improve the Pre-Check facilities.

If you’re considering applying for this program, keep reading for all the details.

What is TSA Pre-Check?

TSA Pre-Check is a program for expedited security screening at one of the 180 participating U.S. airports. Passengers do not need to remove shoes, liquids, laptops, light outerwear, or belts. The TSA reports that in July of this year, the majority of Pre-Check customers had 5 minutes or less waiting time.

Who participates in TSA Pre-Check?

Over 180 airports have pre-Check facilities, and you can check for your local airport here (

Additionally, 17 airlines participate:

  • Aeromexico
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Air Canada
  • Etihad Airways
  • Sun Country Airlines
  • Alaska Airlines
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • United Airlines
  • Allegiant
  • JetBlue Airways
  • Virgin America
  • American Airlines
  • Lufthansa
  • WestJet
  • Cape Air
  • Seaborne Airlines

How do I get TSA Pre-Check?

To become a member, Go to the TSA website ( and start your online application. This is a short application and will take approximately 5 minutes to complete. At the end of your application, you will schedule an appointment at an enrollment center. There are nearly 400 enrollment centers across the country.

When you show up for your appointment, you will go through a background check and fingerprinting. This process takes about 10 minutes.

Assuming all goes well, you will receive your Known Traveler Number (KTN) which you can add to your flights to receive benefits!

What does it cost?

TSA Pre-Check costs $85 for a 5 year membership, working out to $17 per year.

What is a KTN?

A KTN is a Known Traveler Number and consists of 9 digits of letters and/or numbers. This is your ID number, and entering this number when you make airline reservations will indicate to the airline that you are eligible for TSA Pre-Check.

How do I know if I have TSA Pre-Check?

Ensure that you have entered your KTN into your airline reservation prior to departure. That way, the barcode of your boarding pass will indicate that you are a TSA Pre-Check member. There will also be a symbol printed direct onto the boarding pass that says “TSA Pre-Check.”

What’s the catch?

There are still some glitches in this program. Airline reservation systems must be working in sync with government security systems in order for Pre-Check benefits to be given, and while this generally happens, there have been instances of passengers not being able to use Pre-Check.

TSA Pre-Check lanes are only open certain hours, so even if you are a Pre-Check member you may arrive at the security checkpoint to find that Pre-Check is closed. The TSA and Congress are working closely together to make improvements to their service, including longer hours of operation.

All in all, Pre-Check is a cost-effective and efficient way to get through airport security quickly at major airports. Contact your travel specialist here at Esplanade with any additional questions, and happy travels!

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