The two innovations of the past several years which have made the US travel experience substantially more pleasant have been TSA Pre-Check and Global Entry. As a reminder, TSA Pre-Check allows eligible travelers expedited security screening, where they don’t have to take off their shoes, or take their liquids or laptops out of their bags.
Meanwhile Global Entry allows for expedited customs & immigration, where eligible travelers can just use kiosks at immigration, rather than having to queue for an agent.
While Global Entry is valid regardless of which airline you’re flying, TSA Pre-Check requires flying certain airlines which are enrolled in the program. Up until now, only 12 airlines have participated in TSA Pre-Check.
However, as of today, four more airlines are participating in TSA Pre-Check: Aeromexico, Cape Air, Etihad Airways and Seaborne Airlines.
To clarify, TSA Pre-Check is still only valid at US airports with Pre-Check lines, so this simply means that you can use those lines in the US when traveling select international airlines.
TSA Pre-Check is now valid on the following 16 airlines:
Aeromexico, Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, Allegiant, American Airlines, Cape Air, Delta Air Lines, Etihad Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Seaborne Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Sun Country Airlines, United Airlines, Virgin America and WestJet.
In order to be sure you get TSA Pre-Check on these carriers, make sure you enter your Known Traveler Number in your reservation before you check-in.
Keep in mind that while you can pay to register for TSA Pre-Check directly, you’re much better off registering for Global Entry, as it also comes with TSA Pre-Check (TSA Pre-Check, on the other hand doesn’t come with Global Entry).
I registered for Global Entry for the first time in mid-2011, and wrote about my experience at the time. Global Entry is valid for five years, meaning my membership is expiring in a couple of months. Also keep in mind that several credit cards offer Global Entry fee credits, where they’ll reimburse you for the $100 fee to join Global Entry.
The very best way to get TSA Pre-Check is through NEXUS, which costs just $50 and gets you expedited immigration in the US and Canada, Global Entry, and TSA Pre-Check. You pay half the price and get the most privileges. But that’s not as practical for everyone, since there aren’t as many centers where you can enroll for NEXUS, since it’s primarily intended for those traveling frequently between the US and Canada.
Here’s to hoping that TSA Pre-Check expands to even more international airlines!
(Tip of the hat to TravelinWilly)