When PreCheck first rolled out, it was reserved for a secret society of frequent travelers– primarily a beta test group of high mileage members of Delta SkyMiles and American AAdvantage programs (and eventually United MileagePlus).
Airlines sent special invitations to their high-mileage flyers based in the few cities where PreCheck lanes first emerged in the summer of 2011. All members had to do was “opt in” and like magic, they became part of PreCheck. They did not have to apply or pay a fee to be part of the popular program.
Were you one of the lucky chosen few who just opted in? Many TravelSkills readers were! We remember hearing from you 🙂
If you’ve never applied for PreCheck, never paid a fee and received a “known traveler number” (KTN) then you need to pay attention to this.
This month the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is making changes to PreCheck.
The agency warns that if you are just an opt-in member, and not a full-on, card-carrying, paid member of its trusted traveler programs with a KTN, you will see a decline in how often you are chosen for expedited screening.
The TSA blog states: If you want to keep receiving TSA Pre✓ on a consistent/reliable basis for the next five years, you are encouraged to enroll in one of the four trusted traveler programs offered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security:
To learn more about these programs, and to view a comparison chart of the benefits, visit www.dhs.gov/tt.
Bottom line: If you’ve never paid to be part of a trusted traveler program and do not have a KTN on your frequent flyer profile, your chances of getting in the PreCheck line are slim and none.
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