British Airways Joins TSA Pre-Check

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TSA Pre-Check is one of the innovations that has made the air travel experience in the US a bit more pleasant. Those eligible for Pre-Check enjoy expedited security screening, where they don’t have to take off their shoes, or take their liquids out of their bags. It’s a big time saver, and eliminates a big aspect of the security “theater.”

TSA-Pre-Check

While you can register for TSA Pre-Check directly, the catch is that you need to be flying an airline that’s TSA Pre-Check eligible in order to use it. This is different than Global Entry (which offers expedited entry into the US), which eligible travelers can use regardless of which airline they’re flying.

The good news is that the past couple of years TSA has greatly expanded the number of airlines that are TSA Pre-Check eligible. A couple of weeks ago they added six more international airlines, bringing the number of TSA Pre-Check eligible airlines up to 52.

One of the largest international airlines not participating in TSA Pre-Check was British Airways, though the airline lets me know that this is finally changing.

TSA PreCheck

British Airways has joined TSA Pre-Check

British Airways is now participating in the TSA Pre-Check program. Starting today, eligible customers can enjoy a faster security screening process. If you have a Known Traveler Number you’ll want to add this to your reservation to be sure you’re eligible.

Note that for the time being, only printed boarding passes for British Airways will be eligible for Pre-Check — those with mobile boarding passes won’t be eligible.

The other catch is that not all terminals that British Airways flies out of in the US offer TSA Pre-Check. For example, British Airways’ biggest US station is JFK, and Terminal 7 doesn’t offer Pre-Check. This is because British Airways is the largest airline to fly out of the terminal, and as a result there hasn’t been enough demand for it, since the airline wasn’t participating in the program. British Airways tells me that this will change soon, and as of this summer Terminal 7 will get Pre-Check (which would benefit passengers traveling on other airlines as well).

In the meantime, when you’re Pre-Check eligible but there’s not a Pre-Check lane, you’re typically entitled to expedited screening, which means you don’t have to take off your shoes, and can go through the metal detector rather than through the full body scanner.


JFK’s beautiful Terminal 7

Registering for TSA Pre-Check

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 renewed my membership in 2016.

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:

Cards offering Global EntryFee credit terms
The Platinum Card® from American ExpressStatement credit every four years, authorized users also eligible
The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPENStatement credit every four years, authorized users also eligible
Chase Sapphire Reserve®One statement credit per account, every four years
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®One statement credit per account, every five years
IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit CardOne statement credit per account, every four years
Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard®Primary cardmember will receive one statement credit for the $100 application fee every five years, once the fee is charged to the account
The Expedia®+ Voyager Credit Card from Citi$100 Annual Air Travel Fee Credit can also be used towards application fees for either the Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® programs

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.

Bottom line

British Airways was the international airline offering the most flights to the US that wasn’t Pre-Check eligible, so it’s great to see them added to the program. I’m also excited that Terminal 7 at JFK will b e getting Pre-Check this summer, which also benefits passengers on other airlines, including Alaska.

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Comments

  1. Finally – That’s basically all I have to say. It confused me when they were the only large international airline to lack TSA Precheck

  2. The new Chase United Explorer card will also offer Global Entry/Pre-Check fee reimbursement starting on June 1.

  3. Terminal 7 at JFK doesn’t have Precheck yet ?!?!? Alaska needs to get their act together and make that happen regardless of what BA does.

  4. What’s the story with the chase ritz card, I noticed it’s missing from your list of cards with the global entry benefit

  5. Just LOL at that photo of JFK T7. It’s looked like that for 8 months now with no progress.

  6. Flying BA SFO-LHR last Thursday I was pleaaantly surprised to see PreCheck on my boarding pass. I am not sure how or why it happened, and I certainly did not complain.

  7. @ pssteve — Sadly not, but you can go to T4, use Pre-Check there, and then connect airside.

  8. Although Nexus is the least expensive of the Known Traveler programs that offer Global Entry, it’s not included in the reimbursement programs of Amex Platinum, Chase Sapphire Reserve, PenFed and FNBO and the like.

  9. Just logged in to my BA account to update an upcoming booking with my KTN and the system is down and unable to retrieve past or future trips. Oops. I wonder if it’s related.

  10. @Tom,

    Terminal 7 is such a space restricted building (and a dump) I suspect adding a pre-check lane was easier said than done. BA also own the terminal so nothing would get done without their go-ahead.

    Hopefully as part of the seemingly endless renovations/reorganisation of the terminal by BA they make room for an additional lane…

  11. This has me curious—
    Could anyone point me to a ranking (by passengers or by operations) of international airlines operating to/from the US? I have to imagine that BA is right up there after carriers from Canada & Mexico…?

  12. It’s about f’ing time, BA! Maybe you can join the 2000s and let people with mobile boarding passes use this as well.

    Nice to see BA is finally cleaning their aircraft. People have only been complaining about it for 5 or so years.

  13. This is a terrific news for me!! Here’s a question… If I have BA code share tickets (purchased through AA). Will the KTN or Redress automatically populate or will I have to add to my BA profile. What if you do not have a BA profile?

  14. It’s odd how your expedited screening is just normal screening in australia

    You Americans and your security
    So crazy

  15. It appears there are still bugs in the system. I flew Dallas-Orlando-Gatwick yesterday, and BA weren’t able to show TSA Pre-Check on my boarding pass. I had checked in with AA in DFW, and received two boarding passes, with the domestic leg displaying Pre-Check.
    I checked in again in MCO at the BA counter, as airside transfers in MCO are not possible between AA and BA. The friendly staff took a while to figure out how to enter my Known Traveller Number, and then issued another boarding pass, but Pre Check didn’t show. They confirmed it was in my booking, but said ‘sometimes it shows, sometimes it doesn’t’. They then stamped ‘Priority Lane’ on my boarding pass and sent me on my way. The Priority Lane in Orlando wasn’t sign posted, or efficient.
    It is new. It will take some time to filter through, and is a long overdue but welcome benefit.

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