This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Today, I want to share a story from TPG reader Kevin, who didn’t have the airport security experience he anticipated:

This is a story with a happy ending, but it easily could have gone the other way. I showed up to the Oakland airport about 45 minutes before a flight — a little late, but still confident since I have TSA PreCheck. I walk in looking at a very long line and think to myself “thank God I have PreCheck or I’d miss my flight.” But when I get up to security, the agent points out that I don’t have it on my ticket.

My heart sunk and I thought for sure I was going to miss my flight. I have flown previously using PreCheck, and remember specifically adding it to my Southwest profile. Fortunately, while I fumbled around to see if I could add it to my reservation, another security line opened and the traffic cleared almost completely. I made it through in time for my flight, but I might not have if that extra line had not opened.

The lesson in this is to look for the TSA PreCheck symbol on my boarding pass 24 hours before my flight, and even in my frequent flyer profile. I have no idea how my known traveler number disappeared from of my Southwest profile, but I’m sure it was just a harmless glitch. All in all, I got lucky.

You’ll generally have access to expedited security lanes once you enroll in TSA PreCheck, but not always. Don’t expect to use PreCheck if your known traveler number (KTN) isn’t added to your reservation or if the information you provide doesn’t match what’s in your trusted traveler profile. The TSA also cautions that being eligible doesn’t guarantee you’ll be selected for expedited screening every time, so the PreCheck designation might not show up on your boarding pass even if you do everything correctly. My guess is that this is what happened to Kevin, and not that his KTN mysteriously disappeared from his Rapid Rewards profile.

If you unexpectedly don’t get PreCheck, you still have options. Try contacting your airline (either by phone or at the ticketing counter), as they may be able to correct any errors and reissue your boarding pass with the PreCheck designation. If you attempt this in person, presenting your Global Entry card can help to verify personal information. This approach is more likely to work the further out you are from your scheduled boarding time — which is one reason I recommend checking in early — but it’s still worth a shot close to departure if you’re facing a long standard security line.

I appreciate this story, and I hope it can help other readers avoid making the same mistake. In appreciation for sharing this experience (and for allowing me to post it online), I’m sending Kevin a $200 airline gift card to enjoy on future travels, and I’d like to do the same for you. Please email your own travel mistake stories to info@thepointsguy.com, and put “Reader Mistake Story” in the subject line. Tell us how things went wrong, and (where applicable) how you made them right. Offer any wisdom you gained from the experience, and explain what the rest of us can do to avoid the same pitfalls.

Feel free to also submit your best travel success stories. If your story is published in either case, I’ll send you a gift to jump-start your next adventure. Due to the volume of submissions, we can’t respond to each story individually, but we’ll be in touch if yours is selected. I look forward to hearing from you, and until then, I wish you a safe and mistake-free journey!

Featured photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Know before you go.

News and deals straight to your inbox every day.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points Terms Apply.

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION: $1,200

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: Delta Sky Club and Centurion lounge access, $200 annual airline fee credit and up to $200 in Uber credits annually

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$550
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.