Hello out there in the blogosphere, I am Jonella. I work with Bob at TSA and in particular I work on a lot of the TSA Pre✓® communications. Since the launch of TSA Pre✓® last October, more than 750,000 travelers have received expedited screening and we’ve received lots of positive feedback and a few reoccurring questions or themes that I want to address and what better place than here on the TSA Blog!
“Why is TSA Pre✓® only open to a small, select group of passengers?”
TSA Pre✓®, as with our other risk-based initiatives, is based on the premise that most passengers do not pose a risk to security. Acting on that premise, we looked for pre-existing traveler databases we could utilize to test our ability to identify low-risk passengers. U.S. airlines and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have populations of travelers who have already provided details about themselves and both were willing to partner with TSA to offer TSA Pre✓® benefits to their populations as part of our initial test of the expedited screening concept.
We are actively looking for ways to include more populations in some of the risk-based screening initiatives. For example, we recently added active duty U.S. service members to the TSA Pre✓® population. We are starting their eligibility for those traveling out of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport with plans of expanding this particular initiative to other airports in the future through our partnership with the Department of Defense.
Frequent flyers contacted by aircraft operators do not incur a fee to participate in TSA Pre✓®. Currently, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines are participating in TSA Pre✓® and operating out of 12 airports and both continue to offer eligible passengers the opportunity to opt in. US Airways, United Airlines and Alaska Airlines, which will join TSA Pre✓® in the coming months, are also contacting eligible passengers to invite them to opt in. JetBlue is expected to join later this year. So, if you are a frequent flyer with any one of these airlines, check your email and be sure to opt in so you can participate.
Another option for passengers is to join one of CBP’s Trusted Traveler programs. TSA’s partnership with CBP automatically qualifies U.S. citizens who are members of Global Entry, SENTRI, and NEXUS for participation in TSA Pre✓® - at no additional cost. People who are not current members of those programs can apply anytime to get the dual benefit of Global Entry for international travel and TSA Pre✓® for domestic travel. Global Entry charges $100, and membership is good for five years. The cost to join NEXUS is about half as much and also applies for five years.
“I opted into TSA Pre✓® but I rarely, if ever, get expedited screening.”
Random and unpredictable security measures are a part of everything we do. This is to ensure that terrorists and anyone with bad intentions will have a hard time gaming the system. To that end, no one who opts in should expect to get expedited screening every time they fly through a TSA Pre✓® airport. That said, some passengers say they have opted in but seldom receive expedited screening and there could be a few reasons for this.
First, it is important to remember that TSA Pre✓® is currently only available for U.S. citizens traveling domestically on a participating airline, out of a participating airport. Click here for the most updated list.
Secondly, if you are a member of a CBP Trusted Traveler program, be sure you’re including your PASS ID - found in the top-left corner on the back of your membership card - in the ‘Known Traveler’ field every time you book a flight. If you’re not sure it’s in there, especially if you’re not booking it yourself, you can always call your airline to confirm that your number is on the reservation before you fly.
“I can’t remember if I opted in with my airline. How can I find out?”
The airlines capture your TSA Pre✓® opt-in status and transmit that information to TSA along with your TSA Secure Flight passenger data. If you’re unsure whether you have already opted in, I would encourage you to check your airline member profile. Some airlines have the ability to add your TSA Pre✓® opt-in status to your frequent flyer account information online. And remember, if you’re already a member of one of the CBP Trusted Traveler programs you can enter your PASS ID when booking your own travel or saving it in your frequent flyer profile - that signals your opt-in status and that info will be transmitted to TSA when the airline sends your other data.
We are excited about the initiative’s success and look forward to its continued expansion. Stay tuned on the blog and TSA.gov for future announcements for TSA Pre✓®.
I'll be blogging more in the future. See you next time!
TSA Blog Team
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