January 28, 2017
TSA Adding 11 New Pre-Check Airlines
Straight to the Point
The TSA is adding 11 new airlines to its Pre-Check program, which offers expedited security screening. There are now 30 airlines participating in Pre-Check.
What is TSA Pre-Check
TSA Pre-Check provides passengers with expedited security when flying through participating airports on participating airlines. You don’t need to remove shoes, laptops, belts, or jackets when going through the metal detectors. I’ve found that the lines are usually much shorter, and even when there are lines at the Pre-Check lanes, they tend to move much faster than the regular lines since people don’t have to spend so much time striping down. To get Pre-Check, you need to submit an online application, pay an $85 fee, authorize a background check, and go in for a 10 minute interview.
What is Global Entry
I never talk about TSA Pre-Check without also mentioning Global Entry. Global entry provides expedited clearance into the US for pre-approved passengers coming in from other countries. And by expedited, I mean really expedited. When you land in the US, you skip the massive customs line and go straight to a special area with Global Entry kiosks. You scan your passport and your fingerprints (so the system verifies who you are), collect the printed customs declaration, and give it to the officer on the way out. As an example, my sister and I were flying from Frankfurt to the US on the same route. It took her 45 minutes to clear customs as regular flyer while it took me 5 minutes. Oh, and another huge perk of Global Entry is that it automatically comes with TSA Pre-Check! To get Global Entry, you need to submit an online application, pay a $100 fee, authorize a background check, and go in for a 10 minute interview. Since Global Entry comes with TSA Pre-Check and just costs an extra $15, it makes sense just to get Global Entry. And there are multiple ways to get Global Entry for free! More on that below.
New TSA Partners
TSA recently announced that 11 new airlines are joining the Pre-Check program. The new airlines are- Aruba Airlines, Avianca, Boutique Airlines, Emirates, Key Lime Air, Miami Air International, Southern Airways Express, Spirit Airlines, Sunwing, Virgin Atlantic, and Xtra Airways.
This means there are now 30 airlines participating in the program. As a reminder, the following airlines already participate in Pre-Check- Aeromexico, Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, Allegiant, American Airlines, Cape Air, Delta Air Lines, Etihad Airways, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Lufthansa, OneJet, Seaborne Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Sun Country Airlines, United Airlines, Virgin America, and WestJet.
Getting Global Entry for Free
Several credit cards offer a statement credit for the $100 Global Entry fee. Typically all you have to do is charge the application fee to an eligible card, and they’ll issue you a credit within 4-6 weeks. Note that you’re eligible for one credit every five years (the same length of time as each Global Entry membership). Some of the credit cards that offer this benefit are-
- Citi Prestige Card
- American Express Platinum Card
- American Express Business Platinum Card
- Chase Sapphire Reserve Card
TSA Reducing Access to Pre-Check
TSA recently announced that as of February 1, 2017, it’s ‘significantly’ reducing access to the expedited security lanes for passengers not enrolled in Pre-Check. TSA regularly issues one-time access to Pre-Check for various non-enrolled passengers based on their risk profiles and traveling habits even when they haven’t enrolled in the program. My mom seems to get it all the when she flies even though she’s not registered in the program. It looks like the TSA is cutting back on the number of flyers who’ll be getting this perk to reduce congestion at the Pre-Check lanes, which have been getting a bit longer recently.
If you’re a frequent traveler I think it’s worth enrolling in Global Entry-it makes the customs process when entering the US very fast and comes with expedited TSA Pre-Check, and it’s free if you have the right credit card. I’ve had it for about 6 months now and I regret waiting so long to get it!