TSA Pre-Check is one of the innovations that has made the air travel experience in the US a bit more pleasant. Those eligible for Pre-Check enjoy expedited security screening, where they don’t have to take off their shoes, or take their liquids out of their bags. It’s a big time saver, and eliminates a big aspect of the security “theater.”
While you can register for TSA Pre-Check directly, the catch is that you need to be flying an airline that’s TSA Pre-Check eligible in order to use it. This is different than Global Entry (which offers expedited entry into the US), which eligible travelers can use regardless of which airline they’re flying.
The good news is that the past couple of years TSA has greatly expanded the number of airlines that are TSA Pre-Check eligible. A couple of weeks ago they added six more international airlines, bringing the number of TSA Pre-Check eligible airlines up to 52.
One of the largest international airlines not participating in TSA Pre-Check was British Airways, though the airline lets me know that this is finally changing.
British Airways has joined TSA Pre-Check
British Airways is now participating in the TSA Pre-Check program. Starting today, eligible customers can enjoy a faster security screening process. If you have a Known Traveler Number you’ll want to add this to your reservation to be sure you’re eligible.
Note that for the time being, only printed boarding passes for British Airways will be eligible for Pre-Check — those with mobile boarding passes won’t be eligible.
The other catch is that not all terminals that British Airways flies out of in the US offer TSA Pre-Check. For example, British Airways’ biggest US station is JFK, and Terminal 7 doesn’t offer Pre-Check. This is because British Airways is the largest airline to fly out of the terminal, and as a result there hasn’t been enough demand for it, since the airline wasn’t participating in the program. British Airways tells me that this will change soon, and as of this summer Terminal 7 will get Pre-Check (which would benefit passengers traveling on other airlines as well).
In the meantime, when you’re Pre-Check eligible but there’s not a Pre-Check lane, you’re typically entitled to expedited screening, which means you don’t have to take off your shoes, and can go through the metal detector rather than through the full body scanner.
JFK’s beautiful Terminal 7
Registering for TSA Pre-Check
While you can pay to register for TSA Pre-Check directly, you’re much better off registering for Global Entry, as it also comes with TSA Pre-Check (TSA Pre-Check, on the other hand, doesn’t come with Global Entry).
Several credit cards offer Global Entry fee credits, where they’ll reimburse you for the $100 fee to join Global Entry. These cards include the following:
|Cards offering Global Entry||Fee credit terms|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||Statement credit every four years, authorized users also eligible|
|The Business Platinum® Card from American Express||Statement credit every four years, authorized users also eligible|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve®||One statement credit per account, every four years|
|Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card||One statement credit per account every four years, and your account must be open and in good standing when the credit is applied.|
|Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®||One statement credit per account, every five years|
|IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card||One statement credit per account, every four years|
|Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard®||Primary cardmember will receive one statement credit for the $100 application fee every five years, once the fee is charged to the account|
The very best way to get TSA Pre-Check is through NEXUS, which costs just $50 and gets you expedited immigration in the US and Canada, Global Entry, and TSA Pre-Check. You pay half the price and get the most privileges. But that’s not as practical for everyone, since there aren’t as many centers where you can enroll for NEXUS, since it’s primarily intended for those traveling frequently between the US and Canada.
British Airways was the international airline offering the most flights to the US that wasn’t Pre-Check eligible, so it’s great to see them added to the program. I’m also excited that Terminal 7 at JFK will b e getting Pre-Check this summer, which also benefits passengers on other airlines, including Alaska.