The Transport Security Administration is trialing a new system called TSA Pre. Eligible passengers can volunteer to be pre-screened before their flight, hopefully allowing them to move more quickly through airport security.
Who can participate?
The new system is a joint initiative between the TSA and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Right now, participation is open to members of the CBP’s various Trusted Traveler programs, including Global Entry, SENTRI, and NEXUS. However, without a Trusted Traveler membership, you’re still eligible for TSA Pre if you fly regularly on Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines or US Airways.
TSA Pre is only available to U.S. citizens, and Canadian citizens traveling domestically within the United States. At this stage, pre-screening is not available for international flights, but the program will hopefully be expanded in the future.
How it works
Once you’ve been approved and pre-screened, information is embedded in the bar code of your boarding pass. This will potentially get you through TSA checkpoints without removing your shoes, belt, or jacket, or removing laptops from bags. But the TSA stresses that random and unpredictable security checks can take place any time, and there’s no guarantee that pre-screening will exempt you from the full security routine.
TSA Pre is being rolled out in stages. For the current list of participating airports and further information on the program, check out the TSA website.
How to apply
Participating airlines have already contacted selected frequent fliers with an invitation to join TSA Pre. If you didn’t receive an invitation, you’ll need to sign up with the CBP as a Trusted Traveler.
After someone becomes a member of the Trusted Traveler program, the TSA states they “must provide their PASS ID number, associated with the Trusted Traveler account in the “Known Traveler Number” field when booking travel. The passenger’s Trusted Traveler information will be submitted along with reservation information to TSA’s Secure Flight system. Trusted Traveler program members should also remember to enter their full name, date of birth, and PASS ID exactly as it appears on their membership card.”
For more information about the TSA’s Trusted Traveler Program, read our in-depth look here.
CheapAir Travelers: Will you be joining the Trusted Travel Program to test TSA’s pre-screening? If you do, please let us know what you think!