Getting TSA PreCheck with Global Entry – Get it every time!

You received Global Entry card, (or a SENTRI or NEXUS card) in the mail.  Now you’re a member of one big Trusted Traveler family. The “Global Entry TSA PreCheck SENTRI NEXUS” program.

Sort of makes since as you’ll receive the benefits of all programs.

Now it’s time for hassle free airline travel!TSA PreCheck on Boarding Pass

Hold on.  Not so fast.

While crossing the U.S. border in your car is quite easy (line up and flash you Global Entry, SENTRI or NEXUS card), getting to access TSA PreCheck lanes with your Trusted Traveler membership is a tad different.

But not hard.

We’ll cover the basics below so you know just how to get TSA PreCheck with your Global Entry, SENTRI or NEXUS membership.

And it all starts with your Known Traveler Number.

It would be great if it was a TSA Global Entry card show airport security and access PreCheck lines.

But there isn’t.

To access TSA PreCheck lanes you have to make sure you use your KTN correctly.

This would be your “Known Traveler Number” or PASS ID numbers.

Known Traveler Number?

These are numbers assigned to your Global Entry, SENTRI or NEXUS membership that you will need in order to be granted access to TSA PreCheck.

When you receive your Global Entry card you will see a 9 digit number on the back usually beginning with 98.

This number is your PASS ID and is labeled as such.

This serves as your KTN.

KTN or PASS ID on Global Entry card

Your PassID or KTN is on the back of your Trusted Traveler card.

If you only have TSA PreCheck you will not have a PASS ID.  You will receive your KTN in the post or via e-mail.

These ID’s or “passwords” are what you will need in order to gain access to expedited PreCheck lanes.

When purchasing airline tickets online, right before you finalize your purchase, you will will see a field asking you to enter need your “KTN”, “Known Traveler ID” or other identifier.

Enter your PASS ID or KTN here.

Really, they are the same thing.


The reason for the difference is that Active Military Members do not need to apply for TSA PreCheck.

Active military may use their DoD numbers to access TSA PreCheck.  These DoD numbers serve as the soldiers’ KTN when purchasing airline tickets.  If you are in the military and want more detailed specifics look here.

Clear as mud?

Your KTN/PASS ID lets online ticketing registers recognize you as a Trusted Traveler and set your tickets up for receiving TSA PreCheck.

Active military may use DoD ID numbers as their KTN.

How to use Known Traveler Number

13 airlines participate in TSA PreCheck and have fields for you to enter your KTN when purchasing tickets online.

Aeromexico Hawaiian Airways
Air Canada JetBlue Airways
Alaska Airlines Seaborne Airlines
Allegiant Airlines Southwest Airlines
American Airlines Sun Country Airlines
Cape Air United Airlines
Delta Airlines Virgin America
Etihad Airways WestJet

The field is usually located on the final checkout page before credit card submittal. JetBlue provides an excellent example.

After you enter your KTN and purchase your ticket…that’s it.  You’re done!

Your Known Traveler Number is entered into your reservation and you will have a very high chance of being selected for TSA PreCheck.  Even more so if you are a Global Entry member.

TSA PreCheck on American Airlines boarding pass

Did you forgot to enter your number or find a site without a KTN field?  Worry not.  You can always call your airline’s help center and have them double check if your KTN was entered correctly. They can even enter you KTN into your reservation after purchase.

Private travel agents and firms can also can enter your KTN on your behalf.

If you are attempting to gain additional miles by purchasing tickets through a credit card’s rewards program such as Chase Ultimate Rewards there may not be a field for your KTN.

A simple call to their customer service and a representative can enter in your KTN into your reservation on your behalf.

Children are free
Family members over the age of 13 must have their own KTN/PASS ID. Kiddos under 12 do not, and can access PreCheck with you.

Known Traveler Numbers and Frequent Flyers

If you are a member of a participating airlines’ Frequent Flyer program you can also enter and save your KTN into your online profile.

When signed into your frequent flyer account while purchasing tickets your KTN should transfer over to your reservation.

There are risks to this option, however.

There have been cases of KTN’s not being transferred consistently and folks not receiving PreCheck after checking in.  If this happens, call the appropriate frequent flyer representative to see if they can enter in your KTN for the reservation. If successful, try and get a ticking agent at the airport to re-issue your boarding pass, hopefully with TSA PreCheck printed on the top this time.

To avoid this all together we recommend a quick call or desktop chat with a frequent flyer rep to verify if your KTN has been assigned to your reservation.

Be careful when purchasing tickets as a couple or family.  Everyone over 13 will have to be a member of a Trusted Traveler program and there must be appropriate fields to enter each person’s KTN when purchasing tickets as a group.

If only one KTN is entered, only one will receive TSA PreCheck.

TSA PreCheck at the gate

TSA PreCheck Sign at airportAfter checking in with your airline you will see TSA PreCheck printed on the top of your boarding pass if you were selected.

Remember, being a member of a Trusted Traveler program does not guarantee you will be granted access.

It only improves your chances.

The TSA still have Trusted Travelers pass through normal security to keep them honest.

Recently, it seems that Global Entry members are being granted access to TSA PreCheck more often than those with TSA PreCheck’s stand alone program.  This is something to consider.

Things to remember

Everyone in your family will need to be a member of Global Entry another Traveler Program or TSA PreCheck in order to receive it’s benefits.

Members of Global Entry, SENTRI or NEXUS will have access to Customs Kiosks every time.

 Global Entry members can access TSA PreCheck lanes at San Diego airportFolks enrolled only in TSA PreCheck may NOT use Customs kiosks.

Still have follow up questions?  Shoot us a text, comment or call.  Get in touch with Twitter or Facebook too!

The TSA has a good Twitter presence and can be reached concerning a variety of things.  If you can believe it there is also a TSA blog and Instagram account for additional info and hilarity.

A number of airports have good Twitter presence as well.

Not too sure about an airport layout?  Is it unclear where the CBP interview will take place after checking to see which location is closest to you? A simple search on Twitter or Facebook can get you in touch with a number of airports that actually respond to inquiries.

You’d be surprised how easy it is to get in contact and how helpful the connection can be.

Want the benefits of both: TSA PreChcek Global Entry?  Have additional Known Traveler Number (KTN) questions? Let us know.