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Updated TSA Travel Tips: A frequent flyer profile, a frequent flyer number, a Known Traveler Number and TSA Pre✓®: what does it all mean?

Tuesday, February 03, 2015
TSA Precheck logo

Updated 08/11/2015 - This post has been updated to bring you the latest information and tips on TSA Pre✓®.

Review these tips if you just received your KTN or have not received TSA Pre✓®.

If you have a Known Traveler Number (KTN), you might want to pay attention to this blog post. Why? Your next TSA Pre✓® opportunity may be impacted by how you use this information.

If you are enrolled in a trusted traveler program (TSA Pre✓® application program, Global Entry, NEXUS and/or SENTRI), or have been issued a KTN (e.g., members of the military), you will receive TSA Pre✓® on a consistent basis.

However, we have learned that TSA Pre✓® travelers who receive their KTN only add it directly to their frequent flyer profile. You may think you are all set, but more may be required to be eligible for TSA Pre✓® on your next flight.

Your frequent flyer profile — for one of the TSA Pre✓® participating airlines — makes the booking process easier, quicker and more efficient when booking on that particular airline website ONLY for future flights; your name, KTN and other personal/billing information is automatically populated when you use that site, and are logged in, for future reservations.

But we want to make a few very important points about this process:

  • Entering your KTN to your frequent flyer profile will NOT automatically update previously booked reservations.
  • If you make reservations via a third-party website (not on the airlines’ website directly) and/or travel agency, your KTN may not always be shared with the airline. Also, some systems don’t allow you to enter a KTN and only have a “Redress” field. Do not enter your KTN in the redress field.
  • Even though you save your KTN in your frequent flyer profile, it will not associate your KTN with reservations automatically unless the KTN is supplied during the booking process. Remember to always enter your KTN when booking your reservation, even when using your frequent flyer profile.
  • Lastly, if you make a change to a reservation, the airlines’ reservation system may, at times, remove your KTN.

TSA always recommends you contact your air carrier directly to add your KTN to your reservation, or use the tips below to ensure it is added correctly:

We recommend that when in doubt, call your air carrier — or contact them via Twitter — to verify that your Secure Flight data matches. Verify that the airline has your first/middle/last name, gender and correct date of birth exactly as you applied for your KTN. Your individual reservation — not just your frequent flyer profile — must include your KTN. Incorrect name and/or date of birth information will not clear you to receive TSA Pre✓® expedited screening on that flight. This also will happen if you incorrectly enter your KTN or enter it in the redress field.

Participants in a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) trusted traveler program: your PASSID is your KTN and will generally start with 98. You can verify this information by logging into GOES. Choose the “Change Profile” option to verify first/middle/last name/date of birth and PASSID, which is your KTN. Your trusted traveler card will not grant you access to TSA Pre✓®; TSA Pre✓® must be printed on your boarding pass in order to receive expedited screening benefits.

Some of the TSA Pre✓® participating airlines allow you to pull up your individual reservation, and verify your KTN is included. We recommend you check, just to be sure, and it only takes a few minutes of your time:

Participating carriers

  • Air Canada: Visit Enter confirmation number/last name. Click “Update Passport Information (APIS).” Include passport information, along with KTN in the “Known Traveler Number (e.g. NEXUS PASS ID)” field. (NOTE: TSA Pre✓® is only available at U.S. airports.)
  • Alaska Airlines: Visit Enter confirmation number/last name. Under “Traveler Documentation,” click “Enter Known Traveler/Redress number,” enter KTN. If your KTN has already been added, you will see the message, “Known Traveler number has already been collected for this traveler.”
  • American Airlines: Visit Enter confirmation number/first name/last name. Under the “Passenger Summary” tab, click “Add/Edit Passenger Information.” Verify name and KTN in the “Known Traveler ID” field. (Passengers will not be able to edit this information online after check-in.)
  • Delta Air Lines: Visit Enter confirmation number/first name/last name. Under the “Secure Flight Passenger Data & Contact Information” tab, verify gender/date of birth/KTN. (Passengers will not be able to edit this information online within 72-hours of departure.)
  • Hawaiian Airlines: Visit Enter confirmation number/last name. Under the “Additional Passenger Information” tab, click “Make Changes.” Verify name/date of birth, and click “Add Known Traveler #,” enter KTN.
  • JetBlue Airways: Visit Enter confirmation number/last name, click “Itinerary options,” click “Add/Edit TSA Precheck,” enter KTN.
  • Southwest Airlines: Contact Southwest Airlines.
  • Sun Country Airlines: Contact Sun Country Airlines. You may add your KTN during the check-in process if not provided previously.
  • United Airlines: Visit Enter confirmation number/last name, click “Edit traveler information,” enter KTN in “Known Traveler Number/Pass ID” field.
  • US Airways: Contact US Airways. You may add your KTN during the check-in process if not provided previously.
  • Virgin America: Visit Enter confirmation number/last name. Click “Add Known Traveler #,” select traveler and add KTN.

What happens if I didn’t receive TSA Pre✓® on my boarding pass? What are my options?

If you didn’t receive it, most likely it was due to one of the issues outlined above. Additionally, if you have flights with multiple participating carriers, you should ensure your KTN is listed with each individual carrier, as they submit this data to TSA for TSA Pre✓® verification starting 72-hours prior to departure.

If you check-in online before your flight and don’t see a TSA Pre✓® indicator on your boarding pass, contact your air carrier, or use one of the methods above. This will update your Secure Flight information right away. If everything matches, you will be able to re-print your boarding pass again, hopefully with TSA Pre✓® this time!

Other tips to ensure you receive TSA Pre✓®

Check out these tips/previous blog posts regarding KTN use:

As always, TSA continues to incorporate random and unpredictable security measures throughout the airport and no individual will be guaranteed expedited screening.

Ross Feinstein

Follow @TSA on Twitter and Instagram!


Submitted by Anonymous on

Luckily, this hasn't happened to me yet. If I check in for a flight at the airport and get my boarding pass without "Pre-Check" on it, can I just give the ticket agent my TKN and get a boarding pass reprinted with "Pre-Check" on it?

Submitted by RB on

Serious question that I would appreciate being answered.

It has been reported that some TSA screeners are confiscating medical nitroglycerin pills.

I think any sane person knows that these pills are not and cannot be converted to an explosive state due to adulterents added to the pills not to mention the very minute amount of active ingredient.

Exactly what is TSA's policy regarding medical nitroglycerin pills?

Is TSA aware that medical nitroglycerin is also prescribed in both patches and as an ointment? Are these forms of medical nitroglycerin also confiscated by TSA?

What is the Risk Based analysis that would suggest the need to confiscate medical nitroglycerin, a non-explosive life saving medicine?

What the heck is TSA thinking?

Submitted by Susan Richart on

Hey Ross Feinstein, TSA Press Secretary, (or Bob or West) how about a statement on whether or not passengers are allowed to carry prescribed nitroglycerin pills?

It's a life and death matter and yet we have been reading that the TSA has disallowed them because they are nitroglycerin, even though there's not a tinker's chance they can explode.

screen shot/DHS OIG statement

Submitted by Susan Richart on

How many people have you roped into applying for TSA PreCheck?

screen shot/DHS OIG statement

Submitted by RB on

I have a question about PreCheck.

I have flown two round trips recently. On each outbound flight the airline gave me PreCheck but not on the return flights.

If TSA's PreCheck is truly a risk based program and I was considered a low enough risk to be given PreCheck on even one flight but not other flights then the evidence points to something other than Risk Based decisions.

I suggest that TSA is more interested in revenue generation than Risk Based screening.

Submitted by Anonymous on

The comment in the article that this can be checked for an existing reservation is not correct - at least not for American Airlines. I called them after I was not pre-checked for a flight and they said they can only check that the KTN is in my account information, not whether it is attached to a reservation. Essentially if you are pre-checked sometimes and not others then you have no way of knowing why.

Submitted by Susan Richart on

RB wrote:

"I have flown two round trips recently. On each outbound flight the airline gave me PreCheck but not on the return flights."

TSA uses the carrot and stick approach to try to get people to sign up for PreCheck.

Give 'em precheck on their outward bound leg to they can experience how great the program is but deny precheck on the homeward leg to remind passengers of how awful "normal" screening can be.

Funny thing is, I don't think it's working. If it were Bob and Mr. Feinstein would be telling us of the hundreds of thousands who have parted with $85, been subjected to being fingerprinted, interrogated and a background check in order to participate - maybe.

screen shot/DHS OIG statement

Submitted by Anonymous on

Couldn't you save everyone a lot of bother by making Precheck the standard screening protocol for EVERYONE, instead of the wealthy/elite/lucky?

Submitted by Sharon Brown on

I received random TSA Pre selection on my recent trip. I didn't ask for it. I didn't want it. But I was pushed on through. I wanted to stay with my family, especially as it gave me no advantage since I had to wait for them for about 20 minutes.

This random "opportunity" should be optional and easy to decline.

(It also makes me wonder whether the TSA has been digging too far into my private affairs or is risking letting a real danger onto the plane.)

Submitted by Anonymous on

i would like to know the stats for how many firearms are found on low risk precheck passengers.

Submitted by Anonymous on

My father used to carry them all the time through security checkpoints. He always had his prescriptions with him and they didn't question what it was for. I think that the airports you guys were going through need more training. They should not be taking someone's medication from them, because nitro is prescribed for heart patients that need it.

Submitted by Anonymous on

"i would like to know the stats for how many firearms are found on low risk precheck passengers."

I would like to know this, too.

Submitted by Jerome Solanum on

How about we back up a bit and answer some basic questions. Like what is a "KTN"?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Known Traveler Number.
Try google next time.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I have been Pre-TSA since it started. I have travel with every major airline and always received Pre-TSA.
Today for the first time I’m traveling on Allegiant and my boarding pass does not show Pre-TSA. I contacted the airline and they told me that they do not participate in the program. So if you don’t want it don’t travel with the big boys.

Submitted by Anonymous on

My husband and I both applied for TSA PreCheck & have our KTN's on our boarding passes. My husband is cleared at CLE but has been rejected both times on the return flights from DEN, which affects me also. Why did we bother paying for the program?

Submitted by Rose Moten on

My husband and I applied for TSA pre check and both have our KTN. On a recent flight last week, my husband received the TSA pre check logo on his boarding pass for both our departure and return flights, yet I did not. The reservation was booked together. We were very dissatisfied, as we were never told that the selection is random. What's the point of one person in a family getting the logo and the other not. This makes it very inconvenience. This policy of randomly assigning pre-check status to travelers with KTN was never explained to us when we applied. We are now wondering if we wasted $160 on this process. Very dissatisfied. This policy needs to be revisited and changed.

Submitted by Anonymous on

This is so confusing. My husband and I have been in the Global Entry program since it started, but have never received expedited security clearance on leaving the country. Apparently it is random selection. Now,
the email that I received stating that I can apply for TSA Precheck is misleading because if you are already in Global Entry, and have a KTN then you don't need TSA PreCheck as well. Even if you have a KTN, there is no guarantee that you will have access to expedited security lines. This whole program needs to be upfront and less vague. I have spent a lot of time with American Airlines and TSA to get answers but no-one seems to even understand the problem. $100, fingerprints and interview. For what? I guess in our case, only re-entry to the USA was easier with the kiosks.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Flew out of Atlanta last week and the main security was expedited.... sounds the same as precheck. I just checked in for my return flight and I see the status "precheck" on my boarding pass although I never applied. I suspect Atlanta may be a test airport for expedited security for everyone.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I'm just floored that on a recent flight out of LGA, that Travelers with a foreign passport were allowed to utilize the Pre-Check lane as part of the random trail of pre-check. WTF?? It's very frustration to be a paid Global Entry / Pre-check traveller and to slowed down by random passengers being allowed in the TSA Pre-Check line. It was annoying when I was merely sponsored by my airline, but more so when I am paying for the service. I understand they want to recruit more people to pay, but people who aren't even US citizens and therefore ineligible? Really? This is security?

Submitted by John Hedtke on

I'd like to find out a little more about the interview process before I pay $85.

If the nature of the interview is asking if I'm a terrorist, I can safely say "no." If it's asking about my political views or much of anything else personal, I'm not interested in sharing these because it's not the gov't's business and it has no bearing on anything.

Can anyone tell me more about what the interview process is? Email me offlist if you prefer.

Submitted by Anonymous on

When you receive your KTN, do you receive some type of card? Or just a letter from TSA.

Submitted by Anonymous on

My wife and I both got our KTN after the background check and paying $85 and fingerprinted...then the first trip I got TSAPre and she did not. Only then was I informed tat it is STILL a random process.

All you get from TSA is a letter and a number. The Airline agent needs to make sure TSAPre is printed on the pass or the letter does you no good.

Seems like a big waste of time and money to get a KTN!

Submitted by Anonymous on

You receive a letter with your KTN. when you book with a participating airline there is a place to enter you KTN. However that still doesn't guarantee you PreCheck when you fly.

It is very frustrating to pay the fee and go through the process to enroll and still have no idea if you will get PreCheck when you check in.

This exact thing just happened to my wife. We both have KTN's. I confirmed with the airline that the KTN's were on our reservation. Upon check-in I got PreCheck, but my wife did not.

Submitted by Anonymous on

John, I submitted through the website last week and went through the interview as a walk in this last Wednesday. The website process took 15-20 minutes and was more involved than the in-person interview.

For the interview: I was in and out of the building in 30 minutes but the interview itself took less than 10 minutes. It consisted mostly of confirming my name, address and other information I had previously submitted. I was also finger printed using a scanner. The interviewer was friendly and politics/view were never brought up. Hope that helps.

Submitted by Ronald G on

Regarding Susan Richart said...
How many people have you roped into applying for TSA PreCheck?

screen shot/DHS OIG statement

June 6, 2014 at 4:24 PM

Susan, I have both CLEAR and TSA Pre check and have to tell you that the TSA is much better. Not sure why you believe people are being roped into it.

Submitted by Anonymous on

As I entered the check point at PreTSA at JFK I was told there needed to be it printed in my ticket. I was told to go to customer service line for my airline. Luckily I had two hours to spare and my KTN . The CS rep issued me a new preTSA printed ticket. But said call the airline if you don't see a check off box on purchasing screen or forgot to put it in. It will be changed before your flight.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Google always works.
Or, could also try reading the first sentence of the article.

Submitted by Anonymous on

well, the brainiac that wrote the article should capitalize the K, the T, and the N for those three words in the first sentence. It would then be self explanatory what a KTN is.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I am surprised at some of comments which are there on this blog entry. If these folks had bothered to go through the FAQs of the program before applying they would have realized that you are selected for TSA recheck on a random basis. having a KTN does not guarantee pre check, but increases your chances of getting the same.

Submitted by Anonymous on

What's really annoying is not the long lines we are used to but the fact that the airlines are now allowed to provide "preferred" fliers with "preferred" access to TSA screening.

Submitted by Anonymous on

What is the most annoying is the traveler who have not even tried to read and understand the rules about being processed through security. They hold up the entire line while they find each penny in their pocket, take off 10 pieces of jewelry, unlace high top boots, and after 5 minutes of this they still set the set the buzzer off. I don't know how much clearer TSA can make the rules, some people just think the world revolves around them

Submitted by Anonymous on

Paid the $85. Got the KTN. So far (4 trips) only once have I received TSA Pre. Irked & so sorry I enrolled. ROE = nil.

Submitted by Anonymous on

This is a bogus program. I am active duty military. My job is 60% travel. I have signed up for this and have yet had the chance to bypass the regular line. Tsa person said for me to sign up which i told him i did. He stated oh wonder why you dont get selected.

Then at the airport i constantly ask the customer service rep to please print my ticket for the tsa pre screen for some reason they cannot.

How about just letting all active duty, reserves, and national guards go through the precheck. This use to be allowed at many airports.

This program is garbage.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Being a gov't employee, I got pre-check before I knew what it was. A couple months later I reserved a flight, included my KTN and didn't get it. I asked the agent why and he said it's random - still have to keep the bad guys guessing. I just rolled my eyes and went ont.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I agree with a lot of the comments that it is a waste of money. I only get selected about 50% of the time. Many times there is no line at the TSA pre and I don't get selected. I think it is just another money making scam to pay for security. Save your money.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I was not randomly selected. I signed up online for precheck. Anybody can apply. I fly out of Cleveland and always get precheck, including return legs. Just add the KTN to your profile with participating airlines (all are not in the program).

Submitted by Jessica Hart on

TSA Travel Tips A frequent flyer profile a frequent flyer number a Known Traveler Number and TSA Pre what does it all mean.

Submitted by Anonymous on

TSA Pre is $85. NEXUS is $50 and seems to include TSA Pre privileges. Any reason not to go the NEXUS route?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Although I never applied for TSA Precheck, I received a Precheck boarding pass the last four times I flew. However, as soon as screeners noticed the obvious, that I use a mobility scooter, I and my husband were waved to the regular security check line. My husband does not travel with a scooter, and has never been waved out of the Precheck line unless he is travelling with me. I have no objection to a check of my scooter, but I do resent the fact that both of us were bounced from Precheck because (I assume) of a scooter check. Based on this experience, I doubt that I will apply for Precheck. It looks like TSA is not going to let me use it anyway because I need an assistive device.

Submitted by Charles Beard on

The interview process was very simple. They just verified what I includes on my preapplication online (e.g. Demographic information), fingerprinted me, and scanned my passport. It took a little less than 5 minutes.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Recently flew into MIA on American Airlines and went through customs with a boarding pass that was printed in the Dominican Republic. Boarding pass had TSA precheck on it but I was denied access to the TSA precheck line and told to go get the ticket re printed at the American Airlines desk. I just decided to go to the regular line because it wasn't that long and then got randomly chosen to get back into the TSA precheck line. Weird.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I could not find any explicit statement, but I assume retired military are included in the TSA pre-check program that applies to regular and reserve members of the military.
I have a 10-digit DOD ID number on my DD-Form 2, and will use that the next time I make airline reservations, unless I learn I am somehow "not qualified" after 29 years of service.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I am wondering what the point was of going to the trouble and expense of getting a KTN, only to find I am deselected for Precheck at the same rate as before I had a KTN. I feel misled and am extremely disappointed and frustrated.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I never applied for PreCheck, but get it about 75% or the time. If the 25-50% rate of getting precheck on a particular flight experienced by others who posted here are representative of people who paid for precheck, paying does not appear to be a good deal.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I think its very likely that the married couples who report they both have KTN's and are not both getting PreChek is pretty simple to explain. If one person books the 2 tickets using their Frequent Flyer account, the spouse will not have the ticket issued with the profile in their (separate) FF account. Married couples need to book their flights using their own accounts so that the ticket is issued.

I use a corporate travel system that doesn't support the KTN and in order to get Pre-Check, I know that I must then go into my airline's frequent flyer account and add the ticket (using the ticket locator) every time -- otherwise, the airline is not matching me.

Submitted by Anonymous on

My comments mirror numerous previous blog posts on this site.

My experience after being accepted as a Global Traveler has been - well - completely inconsistent and irritating.

The intent of becoming a 'known or trusted flyer', is being known as a trusted, screened and known individual.

I'm a former Marine, my professional life is centered around classified and secure government IT contractors and programs. To the point of being a Known Traveler, you're known and trusted, or you're not.

You have a security clearance, which is universally accepted, or you don't. You receive Social Security every month, or you don't.

I'm either a Trusted/Known Traveler, or I'm not. But I am NOT the guy who's gong to endure a "maybe you're Pre-check today" kind of guy.

Figure it out TSA. I'm in or I'm out, but tell me up front. Seinfeld's Kramer Movie-phone: just tell me the movie you're going to see.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I'm flying Spirit and they do not participate in precheck. However, the security checkpoint I am using is for multiple airlines. What "proof" can I take with me to security to show I have precheck? I have my #, but I can't believe they would take it for real.