An empty TSA PreCheck line next to a longer non-PreCheck security line. Photo: Joni Hanebutt/Shutterstock

Have TSA PreCheck? You May Not on Your Next Flight.

News Airports + Flying
by Suzie Dundas Jul 5, 2024

Earlier this month, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) added four new airlines to its list of TSA PreCheck participating airlines: Aer Lingus, Air New Zealand, Ethiopian Airlines, and Saudia. Of those, Aer Lingus is the largest in the US, flying to 16 US airports, as well as Barbados and Toronto. Ethiopian Airways is the national carrier of Ethiopia and flies from five US cities on the East Coast, and Saudi Airlines flies from DC, New York, and LA, as well as Toronto. Air New Zealand uses six US airports, mostly in major cities.

Fortunately, all airlines are part of major airline loyalty groups. Air New Zealand, Ethiopian Airways, and Aer Lingus are on Star Alliance, while Saudia is part of the Sky Team Alliance. Having the airlines participate in the TSA PreCheck program means that flyers who have Known Traveler Numbers (KTN) or Global Entry can automatically get TSA PreCheck added to their boarding passes, instead of having to use the general security lines.

Wait — airlines have to participate in TSA PreCheck?

tsa precheck participating airlines - long line

An empty TSA PreCheck line next to a longer non-PreCheck security line. Photo: Joni Hanebutt/Shutterstock

What many travelers may not know is that TSA PreCheck isn’t determined exclusively by the security teams. An airline has to agree to participate in the TSA Precheck program. When travelers fly with a non-TSA PreCheck participating airline, they need to use the general security line, regardless of whether they have Precheck or not. That may mean you need to get to the airport a lot earlier than usual, since non-TSA PreCheck security lines tend to take a lot longer. According to estimates from TSA, the average traveler with PreCheck waits less than 10 minutes to get through security. Without PreCheck, it could still be quick — or it could be an hour or more.

Most major US carriers are TSA PreCheck participating airlines, but foreign carries may not be. That’s because PreCheck is a US-based program, and with the exception of one airport in the Bahamas, it’s only used within the US. So airlines that are mostly based in non-US airports may not have much reason to use it. But at this point, more than 10 years into the creation of TSA PreCheck, nearly all major airlines that fly to the US are using it. So don’t worry — if you have PreCheck, there’s a really good chance that the airline you’re flying with uses it. But it can’t hurt to check the list of TSA PreCheck participating airlines ahead of time if you’re flying a smaller airline, just in case.

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