Why is my known traveller/TSA PreCheck number not working?

What is TSA PreCheck?

TSA PreCheck offers expedited security for eligible travelers at US airports. When using a TSA PreCheck lane you don’t have to take off your shoes, and also don’t have to take your laptop or liquids out of your bag. Furthermore, you get to go through the metal detector rather than through the full-body scanner.

Because of this being a streamlined process, you’ll generally find that the lines also move much more quickly.

Do note that not all US airports have Pre-Check, and even at those airports that do have it, it’s not always open.

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How much is Global Entry renewal?

What is the renewal fee for Global Entry? The renewal fee for Global Entry is $100 (the same cost as your original application). Many travel credit cards offer reimbursement for the Global Entry application fee if you use these cards to pay it.

How much does TSA PreCheck renewal cost?

In person TSA PreCheck® renewals completed at an enrollment center require a nonrefundable renewal fee of $85. The fee maintains your eligibility for a period of 5 years, and covers the operational costs associated with the TSA PreCheck® Application Program.

Which Airlines Participate in TSA PreCheck?

This is one of the biggest points of confusion surrounding PreCheck. Just because you’re signed up for PreCheck doesn’t mean you’ll always get into the PreCheck lane at the airport.

It goes through the airline you’re flying with, which will print a PreCheck symbol on your boarding pass if you’re approved. Your airline doesn’t participate in PreCheck? Sorry, you’re out of luck.

However, all of the major domestic airlines and even many of the small U.S. carriers are included. More international airlines are joining the program each year. All told, more than 70 airlines currently participate in PreCheck.

Here’s the full list as of publication:

Aerolane Lineas Aereas Nacionales del Ecuador, Aeromexico, Air Canada, Air Choice One, Air France, Air India, Air Serbia, Alaska Airlines, Alitalia, All Nippon Airways, Allegiant Air, American Airlines, Aruba Airlines, Asiana Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Avianca, Azul Airlines, Boutique Airlines, Breeze Airways, British Airways, Brussels Airlines, Cape Air, Cathay Pacific Airways, China Airlines, Condor Airlines, Contour Aviation, Copa Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Eastern Airlines, Edelweiss Air, Elite Airways, Emirates, Etihad Airways, EVA Air, Finnair, Flycana, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Icelandair, InterCaribbean Airways, Interjet, Japan Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Key Lime Air, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Korean Air, LAN Peru, LATAM Airlines, Lufthansa, Norwegian Air, Omni Air International, PAL Express, Philippine Airlines, Porter Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Scandinavian Airlines, Seaborne Airlines, Silver Airways, Singapore Airlines, Southern Airways Express, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Sun Country Airlines, Sunclass, Sunwing Airlines, Swift Air, Swiss International Air Lines, Swoop, TAP Air Portugal, Turkish Airlines, Ultimate Jet Charters, United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, VivaAerobus, Volaris, WestJet, World Atlantic, Xtra Airways

Scan that (fairly massive) list, and you’ll see there are few airlines that don’t make the cut. TSA has added dozens of airlines over the last few years.

A few notable airlines that haven’t yet joined up with TSA PreCheck include Aer Lingus, China Southern, China Eastern, and EgyptAir.

When your TSA PreCheck access has expired

Unfortunately, the privilege of passing through enhanced security lines is one that comes with a five-year expiration date. With all the other deadlines, dates and reminders we juggle on a daily basis, it can be easy to forget which metaphorical string around your finger is attached to that all-important expiration date. But the TSA doesn’t care about everything else in your appointment book: If your access is expired, no amount of begging, pleading or arguing will get you into that PreCheck line. Fortunately, you can reapply for Global Entry renewal, which comes with TSA PreCheck, beginning one year from the expiration date. So plan ahead, put the expiration date on your calendar with a reminder to renew… and ideally, sign up for your renewal appointment well before your next trip.

Global Entry Requirements

Cost: $100

Who is Eligible for Global Entry?

  • U.S. Citizens
  • Lawful U.S. Permanent Residents
  • Canadian Citizens (through the NEXUS program)
  • Citizens of the United Kingdom
  • Mexican Nationals
  • German Citizens
  • Citizens of the Netherlands
  • Citizens of South Korea
  • Citizens of Panama

How to Apply for Global Entry

  • Create an account on the Global Online Enrollment System Website (GOES) – each applicant (regardless of age – even your children) must have their own GOES account.
  • Login to GOES account, complete the Global Entry application, and pay the nonrefundable $100 application fee.
  • Customs and Border Patrol will review and (hopefully) conditionally approve your application.  
  • Each applicant will then schedule an interview at a Global Entry Enrollment Center (again, even children must have their own interview)

Required Documents:  Valid Passport AND 1 other form of government ID (Driver’s License, I.D. card, or Permanent Resident Card)

How to get TSA PreCheck for free

There are quite a few credit cards that offer either a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry fee credit. In the case of all cards offering this benefit:

  • You receive the benefit either every four or five years
  • You just have to charge the $85-100 enrollment fee to your card, and it will automatically be reimbursed
  • There’s no requirement for you to be signing yourself up; you can sign up a friend or family member, and just give them your credit card to pay with, and it will be reimbursed

When your frequent flyer account doesnt list your Known Traveler Number

Once you are approved for TSA PreCheck, you’re issued a Known Traveler Number (KTN), which designates you as a Trusted Traveler. This ID is your ticket to the PreCheck lane – but only if airlines know that you have it.

To that end, it’s always worth double-checking your frequent flyer airline profiles to ensure that your KTN is populated into the correct field in your account, especially if you’re flying with a carrier you don’t often frequent. It’s an easy oversight, and the worst time to find out that your boarding pass doesn’t include PreCheck access is when you’re about to enter the security lane during rush hour.

Just in case you’re a little rusty on where to go on the airline’s website, TPG Editor-at-Large Nick Ewen recently published a handy guide on how to quickly add your KTN on any US airline.

What Are the Benefits of DHS Trusted Traveler Programs?

If your main airport is one of the busier ones, or if you travel a lot, then these programs are worth the membership costs. The benefits are numerous and make getting through the airport hassle and stress-free.

  • There is a separate security line for TSA PreCheck and Global Entry, typically shorter and faster moving than the general security line.
  • You get to hang on to all of your belongings. There’s no conveyor belts, no taking out your laptop, no taking off your belt and shoes. You don’t have to remember which pocket your dopp kit is in, as you don’t need to remove any of your liquids. Basically, you don’t have to worry about accidentally leaving something behind.
  • There’s no body scans, and there are no pat-downs. Going through security is an absolute breeze, and you can avoid the long lines with all the other travelers.
  • Not having to bother with emptying your bag and body scans, this obviously means you will save a lot of time. When traveling internationally, you can just use self-operated kiosks rather than have to wait in line for an agent, and lines for dropping off bags to be checked are much shorter.

However, PreCheck is only available for select air lines.  What airlines offer TSA PreCheck?

  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • Air Canada
  • Allegiant Airlines
  • Delta Airlines
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • JetBlue Airways
  • Southwest Airlines
  • United Airlines
  • OneJet
  • WestJet
  • Sun Country
  • Virgin Americas

Is Global Entry a Better Alternative?

Global Entry is a program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. Global Entry membership includes enrollment in TSA PreCheck. At $100, the Global Entry application fee is only $15 higher than the TSA PreCheck application fee. The Global Entry membership period is also 5-years long.

If you fly internationally at least once within a 5-year period, Global Entry membership is likely the better choice. However, there are fewer Global Entry enrollment centers, so it can be harder for some travelers to enroll in Global Entry. If you’re an infrequent international traveler, enrolling in TSA PreCheck may be the more practical option.

Can My Kids Join Me in TSA PreCheck Lanes?

If you are traveling with kids ages 12 and under, yes they can join you. Your spouse and 13+ yr old children cannot and will need their own TSA PreCheck KTN.

What Happens After You Apply?

Once you’ve filled out your application, made an appointment at a local center, and competed the final processing, you wait. Online they’ll tell you it could take 4-6 weeks, but in reality I was able to check my status online and had my approval in a week. What you’re waiting for is a KTN, Known Traveler Number. This number can be inputed on your airline bookings which links to your boarding pass to show you as a TSA PreCheck. Checking your status online is the quickest way to find out if you’ve been approved, but you will also receive your confirmation via first class mail (letter).

Bottom Line

We mean it: TSA PreCheck is one of the best investments a frequent traveler can make. Your first (faster) trip through security, you’ll kick yourself for not getting it sooner. And now you know exactly how it’s done.

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