Spirit & Frontier Are Joining TSA Pre-Check

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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.

TSA-Pre-Check

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.

Global-Entry

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. As of now there are 16 airlines enrolled in TSA Pre-Check, including the following (Aeromexico, Cape Air, Etihad Airways, and Seaborne Airlines were added last month):

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

It’s great to see the TSA adding international airlines to TSA Pre-Check, though there are still some US airlines which don’t even have TSA Pre-Check. The good news is that Frontier and Spirit will soon be joining TSA Pre-Check, meaning that eligible travelers on those airlines will be able to benefit from expedited security screening.

Per the Los Angeles Times:

Denver-based Frontier Airlines now says it plans to participate in PreCheck by the end of August, while Miramar, Fla.-based Spirit Airlines is planning to join sometime this fall.

Combined, Frontier and Spirit carry only about 5% of domestic air traffic, but their passenger totals have been growing fast as both airlines expand to new markets.

Spirit-Airlines

This is great news, and it really is a shame it took these carriers so long to join (then again, Spirit doesn’t exactly count on their travel experience or a loyal following to fill planes).

Once these carriers are fully integrated into the program, make sure you enter your Known Traveler Number in your reservation before you check-in.

Known-Traveler-Number

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, and I just renewed my membership a couple of weeks ago.

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. Those cards include the following:

Citi-Prestige-Global-Entry-Credit

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 airlines, especially international ones.

(Tip of the hat to View from the Wing)

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Comments

  1. Great, now the lowest class of travelers that don’t know anything about flying will be joining the already overcrowded lines that most of us have paid to be in.

  2. It doesn’t work that way, David.

    Spirit fliers aren’t getting Pre Check for free. They have to pay $100 (or $85 if they’re cheapskates) just like everyone else. Or $50, I guess, if they live near the Canadian border enrollment centers and opt for Nexus.

    Trust me, travelers who “don’t know anything about flying” won’t be paying the fee. This is true in spades for leisure flyers — Spirit’s constituency — since they’re effectively forced to enroll their entire families in the program.

  3. @Tom Normally your right, appart from those like my parents who seem to get PreCheck every time they fly even without being enrolled….

  4. The United Club Credit Card gives $100 credit so it is essentially the same as a Global Entry fee credit

  5. @David Mcdough..ive never flown on Spirit, but heard a lot about them as ive been in the industry for 29 yrs now. Youre comment about spirit pax is alittle harsh. we all want a bang for the buck so to speak. Not everyone who chooses to fly Spirit is low life scum as u suggest. They want to get from point A to point B as cheap as they can. Let me tell u something, I have been friends with so called poor people who will always welcome u, no matter what little they have and show class, and there are rich people that have no class. Trash comes in every color, race, creed. get a life

  6. If you’re flying on Spirit or Frontier, rude TSA staff are the least of your worries.

    Add Allegiant, and you can have the trifecta of the bottom airlines. Nothing like flying on an aircraft a pilot refused to pilot the day before.

  7. Ben, have you heard any updates from Frontier or Spirit on their progress? I feel like it’s been radio silence regarding either airline’s progress since their initial announcements. I still haven’t found any place to enter my KTN on either Frontier or Spirit’s websites, which I’d think they would start collecting sooner rather than later.

  8. Ditto! Ben, any word on the exact date when Frontier and Spirit will start their participation? Now that it’s mid-September…

  9. Jan. 2017 and still no TSA. Never again. They may think that they are cheaper but they nickel and dime the fairs until it is more economical to fly a decent airline.

  10. Spirit is still not doing pre at denver as of today. And not everybody pays for pre. What was really great when you got it only with status or global access – no matter how experienced a traveler you are pre is too crowded now that it’s a paid program.

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