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Changes You Need to Know to TSA Precheck Qualifications

Retired Community Manager

A better airport experience for air travelers is a priority for both Southwest Airlines and the TSA. As such, we worked with our friends at the TSA to create the following post with information that can help make your summer travel easier.


As many frequent travelers know, TSA Pre✓® offers expedited security screening for trusted travelers at airports nationwide. With a TSA Pre✓® Known Traveler Number documented in a reservation, Customers receive a TSA Pre✓® designation on their boarding document and enjoy all the benefits of a more efficient security check point experience. With TSA Pre✓®, Customers breeze through security lines without removing shoes, belts, laptops, liquids, and light jackets. Aside from creating a better travel experience, it also ensures a safer air travel system for our nation.


TSA Checkpoint Arizona, PHXTSA Checkpoint Arizona, PHX


For those who are enrolled in TSA Pre✓® and have received your Known Traveler Number, you’re all set for takeoff! However, we want to make Customers aware that if you haven’t enrolled in the TSA Pre✓® program, but routinely receive the TSA Pre✓® designation on your travel documents, that in early February 2017, TSA significantly reduced access to TSA Pre✓® expedited screening based on frequent flyer activity for non-enrolled travelers.  This change is to ensure more Customers are vetted through the official TSA enrollment and screening process.


If you’re not officially enrolled in the program, but would like to maintain the TSA Pre✓® benefits, here is what you need to know:


The TSA Pre✓® program provides a five-year membership for a single $85 enrollment fee, which equates to $17 per year. TSA Pre✓® Customers experience a quicker airport security line where shoes, belts, laptops, and 3-1-1 compliant liquids do not have to be removed or screened separately. Nearly 96 percent of TSA Pre✓® passengers get through security in less than five minutes. 


The TSA Pre✓® enrollment process can be completed in three easy steps:


  1. Apply for TSA Pre® Online

Submit a quick, five-minute application online and schedule an appointment at any of the nearly 400 enrollment center locations.


  1. Complete the In-Person Enrollment

Schedule a 10-minute, in-person appointment to provide identity documents, payment, and fingerprints. Most individuals are approved within days of completing the in-person appointment. You can check the status of your application online.  


  1. Enjoy TSA Pre®

Add your Known Traveler Number to your Rapid Rewards account or flight reservations and enjoy!



Copyright : phartisan

Explorer B

We did the TSA precheck and Global acess. 

Explorer C

What is Global access?  We did TSA and then found everytime we went to Costa Rica we couldn't use it.

Explorer C

This would be nice if it worked when associated with your rapid rewards number.  My number is associated and is hit or miss if it prints on my ticket even when at the time I purchase ticket thru my rapid rewards account and see it on the purchase.  Don't bother calling or emailing concerns, rep from both assumes you the customer are the problem not their site.    

Adventurer C

I have learned that even though you may have your TSA Pre assigned to your RR number you still need to enter your TSA Pre number on the KTN space.  I have been doing that for all my flights and have not had issues not getting TSA Pre Check.

Explorer C

Does this mean that if I flew Southwest in March just using Southwest's TSA Pre that I don't have to apply for TSA Pre?

Explorer C

If you want to utilize TSA Pre, you must apply for it.  If you apply and get granted Global Entry, it will include TSA Pre.  TSA Pre is for use with domestic (i.e. USA only flights) and Global Entry is for use with international re-entry and even if you have your Global Entry tied to your passport, you may need your Global Entry card.  We didn't need it for re-entry from Mexico, but a friend just returned from Canada and she needed it to utilize Global Entry.  

Explorer C

Global Entry cost $100 for a 5 year period and is offered through the U.S. Customs & Border Protection. The great thing about this card is it allows you to bypass the customs areas upon reentry into the US and go to the Global Entry kiosk to swipe your card to enter.

Explorer C

I have had the random TSA Pre on several flights in the past. 

My husband did not and in a few locations, (MCO and OKC) he 

was though at the same time or ahead of me. It's nice but it also

depends on the passenger volume, TSA location in the airport

and how prepared one is to slide through regular screening

without a lot to have screened. 

Explorer C

75% of the time going through tsa pre I get picked for additional screening. What heck is going on?

Explorer C

TSA Precheck isn't available at all airports, and I must be in the 5% that it takes longer than five minutes to get through.  Yes, it's a great benefit, but these days it seems like everyone has signed up for it, and the regular security lines are shorter!

Explorer C

I have to take my belt off each time, even though I am signed up with TSA pre-enrolment.

Explorer C

I have the TSA Pre and have had no problems with getting through the security lines, especially at the busy times of the day.  Money well spent.

Explorer C

I have always found it ridiculous that the TSA sells an option for less intence scrutiny.  TSA is making a money off of lowering safety standards.  

Explorer C

I too always get pulled for additional screening each time I am in the TSA Pre line. Crazy!

Explorer C

We missed our connection at DFW last fall after returning from Mexico. After claiming luggage, clearing immigration, customs, rechecking luggage, and taking the train to another terminal, we were forced to go through the TSA Precheck line. There was one agent working that line and by the time we cleared, our flight was leaving. Our friends didn't have Precheck and made it through with plenty of time. Something is wrong with that picture. I wish I'd crawled under the ropes like several others did because the nonPrecheck line was moving much quicker. It would have saved me the cost of dinner, overnight hotel, and breakfast, not to mention 24 hours. 

Explorer C

Although I've gotten TSA precheck, I had a total knee replacement this winter.  Once the agent learns this, I have been told to stand aside and been subjected to long waits and intensely intrusive pat downs. Will this be the new normal?  

Explorer B

As someone who paid my money, and took 2 hours out of my day to be interviewed, I wish they would STOP letting randoms into the TSA PreCheck line.  It defeats the purpose!  It's supposed to be for people who have been screened with an extensive background check.  All it takes for airport security to let one random person in, who shouldn't be there, and next thing you know we have another attack.  It drives me crazy every time I see them doing this.    

Explorer C

TSA Pre-Check is worth every dollar you pay---unless you get the random search buzzer (which I've managed to get 3 times).  I paid $85 so I wouldnt have to take off my shoes, but not so when you get the random search buzzer 😞    Nonetheless, I LOVE SOUTHWEST (2 reasons: bags fly free and ample seat/leg room).

Explorer C

If you think there's the slightest chance you will travel to Europe within five years, go with Global Entry instead of just the TSA-Pre.  It saved me a lot of wait time and aggravation at JFK and IAH.  AND, I am TSA-Pre on all domestic flights. 

Explorer C

IF you have an American Express Gold card, the $100.00 fee for Global Entry ( which encompasses TSA PreCheck) is totally refundable.

Explorer C

I just flew PDX/PHX/AUS on Tuesday, and while I had TSA Pre on my outgoing flight, I did NOT have it on this return flight(s).  I didn't even look because I have Global Entry and it is registered with SWA and then was rejected by DHS.  I asked the DHS agent at regular security why and she said "it's not 100% guaranteed on every flight".  News to me.  


It's possible I need to do what @krey1212 said about entering the Traveler number in another area when making reservations, although the SWA desk attendant said it showed I had it and she didn't know why it didn't work either.

Explorer C

I feel this Tsa  service is not fair to senior and other who fly and this service is not given because we can not pay 85 dollar a year. 


Explorer C

I love my PreCheck and intend to upgrade it to Global Entry soon. I have never had any issues with it other than the lines being long because there are too many people in them who are not in the program. I agree with those who say that they need to eliminate the "random" people who have not paid for the service. It's like letting someone sit in first class just because coach is too crowded. If you want the benefits of the program, follow the process and pay for it. If the regular lines are too crowded then TSA needs to hire more people, not send some into a line that is supposed to be for those who have gone through the screening process. 

Explorer C

I LOVE TSA Pre-check!  Thank you for offering this service.  It is the best service around!!

Explorer C

It seems that those of us who have paid for the TSA Pre-check should have a different check point than the randomly selected pre-checked travelers.  It becomes quite annoying as of late when travelers in the pre-check line appear to outnumber the travelers in the general line.  What was the point of paying and being interviewed?

Explorer C

For those who are in power chairs, the PreTSA screening didn't save any time.  Still had the same wait time for an agent to pass the wand,  physical pat you down and check your powerchair.  I didn't mind the above, since it makes sense for security.  I had hope that there be more agents at the Prescreen to speed things up  In retrospect, it was a waste of money to purchase Pre-screening TSA approval.

Explorer C

I definitely plan to apply for Pre-Chek after I retire from the military.  Especially when flying in/out of Las Vegas, Pre-Chek is a must.

Explorer C

Keep in mind that TSA Pre-Check is not offered at all airports in the USA, and even though the airport may be listed, it does not mean that the line will be any shorter. In Kansas City, for example, often they are down to one TSA person checking everyone's I.D. for flights. When this happens, there is no TSA Pre-Check line and so you wait in a long line like everyone else, when you finally reach the agent, you are then given special handling past that point and enjoy the benefits of having TSA Pre-Check status.


For those of you who travel internationally, I recommend that you download "Mobile Passport" to your cell phone. Before you arrive in the USA from a trip outside of the country, you scan your passport, answer the declaration questions, and take a selfie. This is then submitted to US Customs and Immigration by clicking on the "submit button"in the program. You have four hours from the time that you hit the "submit" button to start the Immigration and Customs process. It can be done as you are taxing to the gate, so four hours is not a problem, even for flights from Europe. Upon your arrival, you whiz by those passengers who filled out Paper declaration forms and are in and out of the Customs and Immigration area in minutes...versus hours in some cases. I used this at JFK and was through with the entire process in under 15 minutes...while others not utilizing this program faced an hour or more in long, snaking lines. I even bypassed those with "GLOBAL ENTRY." Returning last week from Puerto Vallarta through Dallas I was able to get through the process in under ten minutes and was grouped together with those passengers who had Global Entry. I simply submitted the form before we left the gate in Puerto Vallarta since I knew I'd be in DFW with four hours. Here is the best part...MOBILE PASSPORT IS FREE! It's a well kept secret that you should take a look at and you'll see how great it is to use. 

Frequent Flyer A


1.  I believe the layout of the KC airport is the worst for the security process.  I will route myself anywhere else to avoid a connecting flight there.  Has the city considered how outdated it is?  Might be time for a new airport?

2.  I don't fly that much internationally, but will definitely try your suggestion on mobile passport.  Thanks.

Explorer C

 TSA employees at OAK know that the items mentioned above are ok? We went to Vegas in Feb and we're told by an angry employee to remove everything. Our boarding pass had TSA prev on them. We had no issues coming home from Vegas .

Explorer C

The TSA Pre-Check is NOT a guarantee that you will not be denied the rapid screening and randomly screened as a regular passenger without TSA Pre-Check. That said, I've only had that happen one time in two years and I travel a lot.

Explorer C

I guess I've been lucky.  I have been TSA Pre-check for over two years and have never been randomly screened.  I've found it to be an advantage in airports like Atlanta, Detroit, Vegas and Orlando.

I plan to apply for Global soon for a trip to Dominican Republic.

Explorer C

We have flown Frontier Airlines for years and automatically given TSA check approval after years of using Frontier. We are now Southwest customers because we have found better options flying with you. Do you have TSA check approval like Frontier as I explained above? Thanks Bench

Explorer C

I love it. I can literally get to my home airport 30 minutes before and make the flight. (and I fly on non-rev passes which can add extra time to my process) The only thing that made me mad when I got it is that a month later at the airport they were offering free Global when you purchase Precheck and I missed it,

Explorer C

Multiple times in Norfolk and MSP they just said, oh we don't have anyone assigned to TSA precheck to open that line at check in.   I am offended that the government took my information and money and then doesnt wisely use it to keep the service operating.   😡

Explorer C

Like many programs created and administered by the government; it's marketed as one thing to both the flying public AND the airline; then in practice can be quite another as employees sometimes put their own spin on the service; or make changes due to staffing shortfalls or simple convenience for the process.  When you're at TSA being processed; they do what they do; and the airline cannot intervene to assist; nor are they likely to.


I've seen similar situations to what are outlined in previous posts:

  • Pre check open different hours than the primary lines.
  • Pre check being opened to non-Pre check passengers at peak times.
  • Pre check being located away from; and not readily visible from the main entry.

These are exceptions rather than the rule; and in the main; I've found the fee to be a good investment.  Not perfect; but nothing is.


Explorer C

I feel that everyone should be chekced very carfully.  Not taking shoes off, jackets, etc  for pre-check is not what I consider a safety meassure.  Everyone should be checked carefully, especially nowadays, whereby nothing is certain. 

Explorer C

If you have TSA PRE, can you upgrade it to Global Access or you will need to wait until it expires?

Explorer C

TSA Pre-Check should be a safety measure and convenience for frequent travelers who have gone through the screening process and paid for the service. It should not be given at random.

Explorer C

if I enroll and have my family with me do i need to enroll them also or are they able to go threw with me!!

Explorer C

I opted for pre check as I travel a lot.  I did not know, however, that it was airline specific, not available for all domestic flights.  Southwest is my go to airline, but occasionally, I will be on a charter flight.  Charter flights do not participate in the TSA pre check program.  Thought this was an airport security service .  Still love it, as I have always been able to get through security quickly, but do not understand not being vetted for all flights??

Explorer C

The TSA is an absolute disaster.  Little more than a taxpayer funded unionized jobs program providing security theatre.  They cause more problems then they solve.  On the whole, I find them to be arrogant, illiterate, and generally lacking any idea of who it is that actually pays their inflated salaries.  Would love to see the airlines and airports re-privatize security - or take the Israeli approach.  I'd even support SWA running the TSA - as customer service and efficiency is a regular part of their business model.  As a regular business traveler, I'll gladly pay the $85 for 5 years for the opportunity to have as little interaction with the Smurfs as is possible, even when the TSA uses the program as a give-away to passengers who haven't paid the $85 and makes the Precheck line longer than the regular line.

Explorer C

I find it interesting that it somehow costs money.  One would think that if it eases the check in process that it would be a cost savings to TSA.  Almost feels like another scam.  I am FBI approved, finger prints and all... and now I have to pay?  Don't think so.  I already paid for another FBI should carry over into everything.

Explorer C

My husband and I signed up a couple years ago for TSA Pre-Check.  We love it.  Even at smaller airports, they try to give you a version of the full process.  My husband realized the advantage traveling through Chicago a lot.  As a co-worker had it and could get through security much quicker.  Now we have introduced the program to my son and daughter-in-law.  Makes traveling together much easier and quicker.

Explorer A

I signed up for Global Entry ($100 for 5 years) vs PreCheck ($85 for 5 years).  I have only used GE once and it saved me an hour waiting in Immigation.


I love PreCheck as I can usually sail through security.  Even when traveling during off hours when PreCheck may not be open you are usually able to do "expedited" screening which is still faster.


I do not like when low risk non PreCheck travelers are sent through the PreCheck line as most PreCheck people are frequent fliers and know the drill therefore it goes quick.  Non PreCheck people are not aware of the rules (not their fault) and it slows down the line.   

Explorer C

I've had TSA Pre for a little over a year, I love it.  Works like it supposed to everywhere except my home airport.  Amarillo still makes you remove the laptop from bag.  Silly airport needs to catch up with the rest of the country.

Explorer C

I am a CLEAR traveler [have been since the beginning] I get TSA Pre on a random basis. Some days the Pre is there, sometimes not. The past 2 times in DEN the Pre line was VERY long so I went to CLEAR and had the same TSA with a shorter wait time [I was the only one at CLEAR]. This past trip DEN -ATL and ATL -LIT I was Pre. My wife joined me in LIT and the way back travelling same flight but different reservations, she is Pre and I am not.

Explorer B

While I agree that letting the non-TSA rookies into the TSA line is irritating, bottom line is air travel is not glamorous.  It is not "fun", and can be downright the worst.  I do it a lot for work, so its something unavoidable.  A couple things to remember that may help - 


  • Be patient.  If this doesn't work, try again - rinse and repeat.
  • Be prepared.  Give yourself time so you don't stress.
  • Be polite.  I have seen some of the worst human behavior while traveling.  Doesn't need to be that way.  
  • We are all in the same boat, and at the mercy of TSA, FAA and the airlines policies, that are often not posted anywhere.

levesquegary had some very good points as well.  TSA is not perfect, but for the most part I have been glad to be part of that program and have gotten my 85 bucks worth for sure after only a couple of years.


Peace begins when expectations end - as long as you go into air travel with the attitude that things will (and always) will not go as you expected, all will work out.  

Explorer C

I'm disabled with nine levels of fusion in my neck and upper back (C3-T4).  I have better results from being put into the disabled line because I use a cane and wear a carpal tunnel brace.  When I came back from Atlanta last Monday, May 1, 2017 the machine detected something that was not there.  


Does ATL have their MMW machines turned up to a higher detection level because of the volume of passengers that go through there?  This is the first time I've ever been patted down and I've been to London (LHR) and Barcelona (BCN) via British Airways.  Reno/Tahoe What causes false readings on these machines?  Obviously I'm going to test positive for GSR (gun shot residue) along with chemicals since I have to come in contact with my peacemakers to show they are unloaded.  I use chamber flags and deal with the firearm case declaration tag(s).  Does TSA Pre✓® factor in disabled travellers who have hardware in their body?   If so then it may be worth my while, if not then there's absolute no point in throwing good money into something that isn't going to significantly benefit me.  I have enough medical grade titanium in my neck to where I could have a cameo in a Terminator movie.  I had no problem with TSA checking my checked baggage that had my firearm case.  My carry on (Samsonite spinner backpack) did not trip anything and it had two weeks worth of nebulizer Rx meds in it for my asthma and COPD.  They were quite quick and efficient about it.  My home airport is LAS.  I think the TSA people in LAS probably know me.  This was my first time traveling with a cane.  Last couple of trips I forgot it.


On the behavior of travelers.  I was not prepared this last weekend for the size of ATL.  I looked like death warmed over and felt like I got a silver medal with a purple heart competing in the Special Olympics event, THE HUGE AIRPORT DASH.  I'm still in pain and my pain Rx meds are not cutting it.  I'm still sore.  If someone is on a strong pain management protocol in a large airport then it's understandable.  ATL is HUUUUGE   Acomparied to LAS.  I've been to DFW and DEN before as well.  But those were back when AmericaWest airlines still existed and long before the merger of USAirways and American.  Fortunately next year the NRA AM&E will be in Dallas (DAL) which is a tiny airport.  i assumed ATL was not that bad.  Wrong.  I think it was pretty obvious why I was being a more cranky curmudgeon than usual.  It was Murphy's trip that's for sure.

Explorer C

Gomez2, it is $85 for five years, not just one. Thats under 1.50 a month. You really cannot complain about that price, senior or not, sorry.