It is getting harder and harder to find a flight option where TSA PreCheck is not available. Both Southwest Airlines and JetBlue, the two largest carriers not previously in the program, are now participating. This means that the vast majority of travelers flying into the United States will now have a chance of getting access to the expedited security screening checkpoints, which are now available at nearly 100 airports. The best news for travelers is that these two airlines have joined in advance of the busy holiday travel season, helping to ease the otherwise hectic and chaotic airport environment just a bit.
Southwest serves more than 60 airports where PreCheck is available for passengers. Certain members of their frequent-flyer club, Rapid Rewards, will be invited to join the program directly. Other travelers who have a Known Traveler Number via Global Entry, NEXUS, or other Trusted Traveler programs will also be able to enter that number with their reservations to gain access to the expedited screening services. Travelers must opt in to the program, or add their Trusted Traveler number to their reservation prior to the day of travel, to be eligible.
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For JetBlue customers, the program is a bit more limited. Access is currently available only to travelers with a Known Traveler Number, not invitees from their frequent-flyer TrueBlue program. Also, the service is only available at airports where the carrier offers mobile boarding passes (currently there are 22 available). And, perhaps most limiting, travelers must use the JetBlue mobile app for their boarding pass. The carrier expects to have paper boarding passes, including those printed at home or the airport, as part of the program by the end of March 2014.
TSA PreCheck allows participating customers to expedite security by leaving their shoes, belt, and light outerwear on, and, in most cases, keep their laptop computers and 3-1-1 compliant liquids and gels in their carry-on bag. The screening process is quicker and less intrusive. Travelers with children under 12 can bring their kids with them through the PreCheck lane if the adult is eligible. For both JetBlue and Southwest (and other participating carriers, as well), the boarding pass will be marked with an indicator that the traveler is eligible for the program.
Photo Credits: JetBlue plane courtesy of Seth Miller; Ticket stub courtesy of Southwest Airlines