You finally took the leap and got Global Entry or TSA PreCheck—if not, you really should. You applied, you aced the interview, and now you are ready to join the ranks of savvy travelers who don’t let security lines with screaming babies ruin their trip to Hawaii. Now, it’s time to put your shiny new toy to use, and I’m here to show you the ropes.
Quick side note: Hopefully you took advantage of a premium credit card (such as Chase Sapphire Reserve) offer that paid for part or all of the application fee.
How to Use Global Entry and TSA PreCheck
When you get approved for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, you receive a Known Traveler Number. This number is your golden ticket. When booking flights you will have the opportunity to add your Known Traveler Number.
Then, if the airport you are using participates in expedited screening programs, your boarding pass will have the TSA Pre✓ logo to let you know you’re all set to use the TSA PreCheck lane.
When you arrive at the airport, simply locate the TSA Pre✓ sign that will direct you to the expedited security lane. Now strut down the unobstructed lane like the pro-traveler you were born to be.
How to Use Global Entry for International Travel
When returning from international travel, all you need to utilize Global Entry is your passport. When you arrive at customs, look for signs pointing you to the Global Entry kiosks.
Go up to one, scan your passport and follow the instructions. After that, all you have to do is take your receipt to the customs agent to finish the process. If the airport does not have Global Entry kiosks (or they are not working), you have the right to skip the lines to speak with a border patrol agent.
You can check which international airports have Global Entry kiosks here.
Which Airlines Participate in TSA PreCheck?
Not all airlines participate in TSA PreCheck. To participate, airlines are required to meet TSA Security requirements and upgrade their reservation system to sync with the Secure Flight prescreening system.
Here is a full list of airlines that currently accept TSA PreCheck:
|Aeromexico||Dominican Wings||Silver Airways|
|Air Canada||Emirates||Singapore Airlines|
|Alaska Airlines||Etihad Airways||Southern Airways Express|
|All Nippon Airways||Finnair||Southwest Airlines|
|Allegiant Air||Frontier Airlines||Spirit Airlines|
|American Airlines||Hawaiian Airlines||Sun Country Airlines|
|Aruba Airlines||InterCaribbean Airways||Sunwing Airlines|
|Avianca||JetBlue Airways||Swift Air|
|Boutique Airlines||Key Lime Air||Turkish Airlines|
|Cape Air||Korean Air||United Airlines|
|Cathay Pacific Airways||Lufthansa||Virgin America|
|Contour Aviation||Miami Air International||Virgin Atlantic|
|Delta Airlines||Seaborne Airlines||Extra Airways|
Add Your Known Traveler Number to Your Frequent Flyer Profiles
To make life easier, most frequent flyer programs allow you to save your Known Traveler Number to your profile so that you do not need to plug it in each time you book a new flight.
Each frequent flier program is different but, for most, you simply need to log in, navigate to the place to edit your profile and look for the option to add your Known Traveler Number.
For example, here is where to add your Known Traveler Number in your Delta SkyMiles profile:
Do My Kids Need Global Entry or TSA PreCheck?
For domestic travel, children that are twelve years old or younger can use the TSA PreCheck lane when traveling with a parent or guardian who has the indicator on their boarding pass. Travelers thirteen and older who do not have a TSA PreCheck on their boarding pass must go through standard security lanes, even if the parent or guardian they are traveling with has TSA PreCheck.
For Global Entry, on the other hand, each person must apply separately in order to use it when entering the US. Children under the age of 18 need a guardian’s permission to apply. Again, your kids will not be able to tag along with you as you enter the US using Global Entry as each traveler must have Global Entry separately.
What to Do if You Get SSSS on Your Boarding Pass?
SSSS is an acronym for Secondary Security Screening Selection, and if you see it on your boarding pass you should expect the security screening process to take an additional 10 to 20 minutes even if you have TSA PreCheck.
It’s not fun, but it’s not the end of the world. It’s much easier to deal with when you know what to expect, so let me walk you through the details.
TSA does not tell us exactly why people are selected for secondary screening, and the vast majority of travelers will never see SSSS on their boarding pass.
However, if you are one of the unlucky passengers selected for secondary screening, here’s what to know: You won’t be able to print your boarding pass or access it on your mobile device (print it at a check-in kiosk). You can expect to go through the metal detector, the full body scanner, a thorough pat down from a TSA agent, and a few other tedious steps before finally being released to your plane.
So, if the dreaded SSSS happens to you, the best and quickest way through this extended security check is to stay calm and friendly. Listen carefully to instructions and make sure a TSA agent stamps your boarding pass at the end to give you the all-clear for boarding, it will be over before you know it.
Most importantly, if you check in online before your flight and you are not able to print or receive your boarding pass, you know there is a chance you will receive SSSS and you should allot for a bit more time to clear TSA security screening.
Using Global Entry or TSA PreCheck is one of the best ways to dramatically improve your travel experience, and both are easy to use! Add your Known Traveler Number to your frequent flyer profiles, know if your international airport has Global Entry kiosks and pay attention to TSA PreCheck signage. You’ll be well on your way to breezing through security screening like a pro.
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