As of 19 Dec, TSA Pre-Check is automatically available at all100+ Pre-Check locations for all military members with a CAC card.  TSA’s web page here gives the details.  This is a huge expansion from the previous 10 airports listed for military members.  Note that you need to enter your DoD ID number (shown in the middle of the back of your card) as your Known Traveler Number on your reservation.  The message also says “when traveling on nine major U.S. airlines”, so you must be one of the following: Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways and Virgin America.  Sorry, no Spirit Airlines yet.

Since this is new, I suggest asking at the ticket counter if they can add that in if you had not done so during the reservation process.  You can also try just showing your CAC card to the TSA agent and see if they would accept that.  Please let us know your success in doing the latter.

Now for something that I can’t find any information on, but I trust the source.  My daughter, Stephanie, came yesterday to our winter home for Christmas traveling DCA-PDX-ANC.  Traveling Alaska FC (on my miles naturally) she couldn’t find a line for elite passengers and got in the normal one for Terminal 1.  At the front of the lines stood a TSA Agent with an iPad and then pushed an iPad which directed the traveler left towards the regular screening or right towards the Pre-Check screening.  She got lucky and went through Pre-Check without having to unload her laptop, take off her shoes, or any of the other usual procedures.  She loved it and now wants to figure out how she can do that more often.  John Pistole, the TSA Administrator, has remarked that they are greatly trying to expand the program.  I guess this was a free sample to some of the public in order to encourage them to register for the program.

And that’s the other news about Pre-Check that you may not have heard about.  Up until now it has only been available by invitation.  Mostly given to Gold level and above frequent flyers, it is now available to anyone.  TSA opened their first office for this in Indianapolis last week and soon will have other offices in major cities, such as D.C.  For an $85 application fee you will get a five-year registration with Pre-Check.  The visit will involve you filling out an application with some security questions, getting your fingerprints taken, and verifying your citizenship.  Now why do you need this if  you’re in the military and already enrolled?  Why for your spouse of course!  That way you can both go through Pre-Check together along with any children under 12.  That is only a $17/ year cost and seems well worth it if you travel very much.

Posted by glenn | 9 Comments

9 responses to “TSA Expands Availability to Military and Offers Free Samples”

  1. James says:

    I have been wondering about that… I’ve seen a lot of pax from the primary line being randomly diverted into the precheck line. It feel like a good way to maximize TSA resources but is weakening the value to paying for precheck, which I did via global entry.

  2. Russ Hoxtell says:

    Does this work for retired ID carrying members?

  3. Shari says:

    Do you think this is worthwhile for mil dependents to pay for, so that they can accompany their AD member, or wait & see whether they expand it to us as well?

    • glenn says:

      @Shari – I don’t think they are going to expand the TSA Pre-Check to dependents unless DOD decides to give dependents CAC cards. They need the CAC card scan in order to verify status. I think you are better off paying the $100 for Global Entry (provided you go overseas) or $85 for the TSA Pre-Check when one of thier new centers opens up in a city near you. It’s a lot nicer if you can all go through the same security screening.

      • Shari says:

        Gotcha. We’re going to London & Paris in April, so I think it might be worthwhile for us. Will have to consider the budget too, of course. 🙂

  4. Alex says:

    Here’s another variation. Although retired IDs won’t work, what about Uniform Services ID? I’m Ready Reserve, so my card’s barcode can be scanned to verify my status. But I can’t find word on whether these are accepted, even though my DOD ID # was accepted for purposes of making my upcoming reservations. Thanks, Glenn.

    • glenn says:

      @ Alex – Put your DOD ID# in the Known Traveler field in your reservation and give it a try. The rules say you need a CAC card, but maybe it will work. Just allow yourself enough time if they kick you out of Pre-Check and youhave to go through the regular line. Let us know if you have discovered a new way!

      • Charles says:

        The way this works is the DOD ID Number is queried against a database of service members, so it most likely won’t work. But he’ll know if it does or not well before arriving at the security checkpoint. The way the “Known Traveler” method works, when he checks in and gets his boarding pass, whether online or at the airport, it will state “PreCheck” on it if he’s cleared. If he’s not, it won’t be there.

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