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TSA PreCheck Expands To Some International Itineraries

by on May 8, 2013 · 26 comments

in TSA

Although TSA PreCheck partners with five airlines in 40 airport locations to let trusted travelers through airport security without having to remove their shoes, laptops or liquids, until now, only travelers on domestic itineraries were eligible for it. However, the TSA announced yesterday that starting today, May 7, 2013: “In addition to domestic travel, TSA Pre✓™ participants will be eligible for expedited screening on select international travel itineraries. Eligible passengers traveling on Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and US Airways will be allowed to leave on their shoes, light outerwear and belt, keep their laptop in its case, and their 3-1-1 compliant liquids/gels bag in a carry-on.”

The TSA doesn’t specify which international destinations travelers can expect to be eligible for TSA PreCheck, but in a New York Times interview, John Pistole, head of the Transportation Security Administration, stated: “We reached an agreement with the European Union, Canada and Australia for them to accept PreCheck passengers from the United States.”

Avoid waiting in a long screening line by getting TSA PreCheck.

The TSA also announced that “passengers with connecting domestic flights who arrive in the United States on an international flight may use the TSA Pre✓™ lanes when going through the screening process at participating airports after being cleared by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).”

So whereas before, even if you were flying a domestic leg to a gateway to catch your international flight, if it was all on the same itinerary, you would automatically be disqualified for using the TSA PreCheck line, but now, whether you’re on a domestic connection to your international flight, or on select international flights departing from one of the 40 TSA PreCheck airports on one of their partner airlines, you could be cleared to go through expedited security. The TSA isn’t saying which international routes it will work on – probably to preserve some of the security of screening through randomness – but even a few is better than none.

It’s interesting that this comes now since I mentioned last week that I was cleared for TSA PreCheck on my leg from New York LaGuardia to Miami where I was to connect to Santiago, Chile, when traveling with my mom. I was surprised that my boarding pass even registered as PreCheck – and after a brief discussion with my mom about airport security etiquette, I went through the expedited line and waited for her in the elite line on the other side. Same thing happened on my return leg after flying LAN from Santiago to Miami. In Miami I tried using the LAN boarding pass, but it didn’t beep. So I went to the AA counter and had then reprint the boarding pass and sure enough I was able to go through PreCheck.

Personally, I find the Trusted Traveler programs including TSA PreCheck and Global Entry to be huge time savers when traveling, and the fact that the TSA is adding international itineraries to the PreCheck program thrills me. Now if only they’d add more locations and more partner airlines so that if you are flying internationally on a non-US airline you could take advantage of these faster lines as well.

If you don’t have TSA PreCheck or a Trusted Traveler number yet, you could always get it by applying for Global Entry, which costs $100 for 5 years, since that qualifies you for PreCheck. Plus, if you have the Amex Platinum, Business Platinum and Mercedes-Benz Platinum cards, the Global Entry fee is refunded to you, so it’s free and it’s an easy way to get PreCheck-qualified as well. Also, United compensates Global Services, Premier 1K and Premier Platinum members for the $100 Global Entry application fee, for new applications.

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  • sfomsp

    The UK is not in the EU but can confirm it showed PreCheck on my flight to LHR yesterday.

  • http://twitter.com/LLWarrenP Warren Poschman

    AWESOME!! I am so looking forward to trying this on Friday in MIA. It was always frustrating to skip the customs line only to have to wait in the endless lines at MIA for the domestic leg.

  • Taha

    Can my kids (under 12) go in the pre-check line with me, or is it just me?

  • Tom

    The UK is most certainly in the EU.

  • Taha

    Also, United will compensate the $100 Global Entry application fee for Platinum and higher members

  • thepointsguy

    Added !

  • Coop

    How can you tell if you qualify for Pre-Check prior to arriving at airport/avoiding having to walk up to Pre-Check Security and having
    them scan your boarding pass?

  • Mandy

    If you fly Delta, it will print on your boarding pass.

  • Mandy

    I hope Mexico is next!

  • Sevenfeet

    Yes, Delta prints it on the boarding passes but I don’t think there is a way to tell for the electronic passes on smart phones…at least not that I have seen.

    One more thing…even if you have been qualified for the TSA Pre program doesn’t mean you will be selected for it every time you go through security. TSA will occasionally make you go through the normal screening line regardless. They explain this in the FAQ section of TSA Pre website at TSA.gov.

  • David Aitken

    I’ve already been approved for Global Entry.
    How do I get approved for TSA PreCheck?

  • thepointsguy

    Log into your passenger profile account with the airlines you fly and you can add a Trusted Traveler number (Global Entry counts) to your profile and it should register automatically for PreCheck when eligible.

  • thepointsguy

    Accompanying passengers 12 and younger are allowed through TSA Pre✓™ lanes with eligible passengers.

  • Mike

    Delta did update their app (at least on iPhone) so that the Pre-Check icon displays right next to where the Sky Priority icon appears.

    I recently witnessed one of the random screenings for Pre-Check and they still let you go through the Pre-Check line. The screening occurs after you have entered the Pre-Check area so you still get the benefit of the shorter line. I was pleased to see this, as I always feared the time I would be selected for random screening–inevitably the time I’m running late and the normal security line is longest.

  • brianyyz

    Some in the UK may not *want* to be in the EU, but they certainly are. They are not in the Schengen Area, which may be what you are confused about.

  • brianyyz

    If you are near (or travel to) Canada regularly, you may want to consider a NEXUS pass. It gives you GE with all the benefits, plus expedited entry into Canada and US/Canada land and water expedited entry. Oh, and it is $50 for 5 years.

  • ct

    Have you verified with TSA that you can use PreCheck on the first leg of any domestic-international itinerary? The TSA statement you linked to seems to address using PreCheck only on the second leg of an international-domestic itinerary. If what you say is true, TSA should probably clarify its statement.

  • thepointsguy

    It worked for me on the first leg.. Haven’t contact the TSA but others have reported the same

  • rrcruise

    I’ve gone thru security 32 times since qualifying for PreCheck and have never been able to use it. Granted half of those were from my home airport which doesn’t have PreCheck, but I’m 0 for 16 besides that. Reasons include “PreCheck shuts down at 6:00 PM/DCA”, “We have PreCheck but not for your carrier/LAS.” “We have PreCheck but the machine is broke./SEA” We have PreCheck but you came off an international flight/EWR.” We have PreCheck for your airline but not for these gates. You need to take the shuttle to the other area, go through PreCheck and then take the shuttle back./DCA” Add to this a few airports that don’t have PreCheck/BLI for example.

  • James

    I wonder what the chances are of the US ever allowing the reverse, so those of us from EU/Canada/Australia can go through quicker…

  • Trey

    I’m flying home from Singapore to Charlotte connecting via Chicago on Asiana and then United for ORD-CLT. Should I be able to use precheck in ORD as my originating carrier is non-US?

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  • Guest

    Tom is right. UK is in the EU but not a part of the Schengen agreement.

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