When it comes to air travel, dealing with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is my least favorite part of the travel experience. The staff are surly, rules seem to change depending on the position of the sun or the attitude of the employee, the lines are long and overall its a bunch of security theater. When possible, I like to minimize the amount of time I have to spend involved with the TSA.
The PreCheck program, though initially offered in just four airports, was a game changer. The staff suddenly became friendly as some restrictions were loosened for those chosen to use PreCheck. Belts, shoes and coats could be left on, while laptops and liquids were able to stay in your carry-on. Perhaps the biggest benefit for many was the fact that PreCheck only used the standard walk-through metal detector, rather than the invasive full body scanners that the TSA has come to love. Overall, it was a much better experience and one that look a lot less time to navigate.
Fast forward to 2015, there are over a dozen airlines from the United States and Canada participating in the program and PreCheck is offered passengers at more more than 150 airports. Those eligible to participate include passengers who hold a trusted traveler membership (Global Entry, NEXUS, or SENTRI) or are a member of the TSA PreCheck program. Until this week, however, passengers who elected to travel on Allegiant, Frontier, or Spirit were unable to take advantage of those benefits and were directed to the “regular” line each time. That has changed!
While researching some tickets to Honolulu on Allegiant, my friend mentioned seeing a box for entering a Known Traveler Number (KTN) on the Allegiant website. Thinking that he may have been confusing a KTN with a Redress number, issued to those who always receive secondary screening, I navigated to the Allegiant website and to my surprise, they now have a spot to enter a KTN!
Thinking it was a glitch, I reached out to Allegiant’s media relations office and they confirmed that PreCheck had indeed gone live as of this week. There was even a quietly released post from the TSA.
“Allegiant is committed to providing safe, economical and convenient travel options. Offering our travelers TSA Pre✓® is another way we can make it even easier for them to get to their destinations,” said Eric Gust, Allegiant vice president of safety.
Passengers who are eligible for TSA Pre✓® include: members of the TSA Pre✓® application program, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Trusted Traveler program and Global Entry, and Canadian citizens who are members of CBP’s NEXUS program. TSA Pre✓® is also available for U.S. Armed Forces service members, including those serving in the U.S. Coast Guard, Reserves and National Guard.
Where to Find Your Known Traveler Number
If you have a KTN issued because of participation in Global Entry, NEXUS, or SENTRI, you can find it by logging into the Global Online Enrollment System and looking in the top left corner.
The KTN is also printed on the back of a Global Entry, NEXUS, or SENTRI membership card.
For those who paid the $85 fee to join the TSA’s PreCheck program, you can find your KTN on the Universal Enrollment Services Website.
Though Allegiant now supports PreCheck, that leaves Frontier and Spirit as the only two major US airlines to not support the program. In 2014, Frontier offered up this response to a customer who asked about the program.
I wrote a few days ago about my positive experience on Allegiant from Kansas City to St. Pete/Clearwater and mentioned the lack of TSA PreCheck as one thing that might keep me from booking flights with Allegiant in the future. However, with this development, I find myself more interested in flying with Allegiant in the future.