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The two innovations of the past several years that 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 that are enrolled in the program.
A few months back we saw some international airlines join TSA Pre-Check, including Aeromexico and Etihad Airways. Well, the great news is that a European airline has now joined the TSA Pre-Check program for the first time. Lufthansa just became the 18th airline to offer TSA Pre-Check, and the first European airline to do so.
It’s awesome to see Lufthansa being added to the program, as it means eligible passengers will be able to enjoy expedited security screening when flying Lufthansa now. Personally I haven’t found the security screening process in Frankfurt to be too bad, at least in the Lufthansa First Class Terminal. 😉
To be sure you’re eligible, just enter your Known Traveler Number in your reservation before checking 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).
Several credit cards offer Global Entry fee credits, where they’ll reimburse you for the $100 fee to join Global Entry. These cards include the following:
|The Platinum Card® from American Express|
|The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN|
|Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®|
|Citi Prestige® Card|
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. TSA obviously wants as many passengers as possible using these lanes, so that they can justify the Pre-Check program and move people along as quickly as possible. The biggest barrier is getting people to actually sign up for the program, so hopefully adding more airlines helps with that goal.
In the meantime I’ll certainly enjoy the security process being easier in the US before my next Lufthansa flight.
(Tip of the hat to USA Today)