I once received a question from a reader that I think many travelers may have or will in their travels. The fix is a simple solution and it could save you a lot of time at security. It saved me 40 minutes this week in Newark. RELATED: The Trick to Getting TSA PreCheck Fast and 4 Other Tips Travelers Need to Know

Michele B. wrote: “I signed up and received a Global Entry card and it states it’s for TSA also. I flew Delta to San Francisco last week and Delta didn’t put on my ticket that I should have PreCheck. I decided to go to the TSA lane and show them my Global Entry card, but they won’t except it and said it has nothing to do with TSA PreCheck. Have you ever heard of this and how I can use my Global Entry card? Thanks for any help or advice you can give.”

Here’s my response:

Hi Michele,

Yes! In short, the TSA states: “To receive TSA PreCheck, you must include your Known Traveler Number (your CBP PASSID for Global Entry, NEXUS, or SENTRI members) in the appropriate field of your airline reservation, and the TSA PreCheck® indicator must be displayed on the boarding pass to access the lanes.”

This happened to me once when I was flying Virgin America and Air Canada back in 2014 and I learned a lot from the unpleasant experience so I wrote this post about it: PreCheck Double Check.

Whenever you renew or get a new passport, Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI or TSA PreCheck number (Known Traveler Number – KTN), you should always update your profile on the websites of all the airlines you fly. I thought I had done this in 2014 but the TSA PreCheck checkmark still wasn’t showing up on my tickets for two airlines. I thought maybe I’d input the number incorrectly or the agent I’d spoken to over the phone had mistyped it.

After I printed my boarding pass and didn’t see the TSA PreCheck logo on both my Virgin America and Air Canada tickets, I went to both ticket counters to find out if my Trusted Traveler number had been registered. It turns out they hadn’t, even though for one of those flights, I know I had called a booking agent and for the other, I had manually entered it on their website. The same thing happened to my wife as well.

I highly recommend going back to the check-in desk and asking the agent to double check that the information was inputted properly.

Just keep in mind that just because you have TSA Pre doesn’t mean that you’ll get it every time. Sometimes (not very often), they purposely don’t give it so travelers get a more thorough screening.

But note that the TSA also recommends on their website: “If you believe you should have the TSA PreCheck® indicator on your boarding pass but did not receive it, please call the TSA Contact Center at (866) 289-9673, email us, or contact us at @AskTSA on Twitter and Facebook Messenger.”

Just this week, my family and I were flying Alaska Airlines between Newark and Los Angeles and I double checked our reservation a couple of days before, just to make sure our seat assignments hadn’t been changed. I noticed I had forgotten to input my kids’ and wife’s Known Traveler Numbers so I did and we all got TSA Pre-Check. Those three minutes I spent saved us at least forty minutes in the regular security line pictured above.

*This post was originally published in 2021 but has since been updated with current information.

How to Get TSA PreCheck & Global Entry Access for Free
How To Find Out If The TSA PreCheck Lane Will Be Open When You Travel
The App All Travelers Need to Download
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21 Comments On "How To Make Sure the TSA PreCheck Checkmark is On Your Boarding Pass"
  1. Linda Perry|

    This has happened to me a few times. I have used direct message via twitter to
    The airline and they were able to update my boarding pass before I left for the airport.

  2. PreCheck Troubleshooter|

    But before you call the TSA Contact Center, please verify with your airline that the name associated with your PreCheck program matches the name on your reservation, your DOB is correct as well as the correct KTN is in your reservation. Also: while the contact center can RESEARCH why the PreCheck identifier isn’t on your boarding, they cannot add it, force it through or resolve the issue. They research the issue, and email you the results.

  3. BStille|

    My husband has a problem because he had a heart transplant and even tho he is TSA approved etc., they make him take his shoes, belt, etc. off and wand him. This takes forever!

  4. Karen|

    How do you get tsa approved
    I hD it once when i travelled but i just filled out a form with my purchase
    But havent had it sunce

    1. Johnny Jet|

      You have to apply and pay for it

  5. MH|

    What I do not understand is TSA says give them three days advance notice to troubleshoot your issue if the pre-check logo is missing but you can only check into your flight 24 hours before departure, what am I missing? Wr do not travel 9ften at all but did get TSA pre-check for convenience on an upcoming trip and want to be sure we will be able to use it without issues. I guess all we can do is make sure when we check in the day before the logo is on our mobile boarding pass?

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Yeah, that doesn’t make sense. You should always make sure your Known Traveler Number is in your reservation. Ask the agent at check-in to re-input it. But just know that even though you have TSA Pre doesn’t mean you get it every time. They sometimes randomly take it away to fully screen passengers

  6. Gill Bray|

    Hi Johnny – my understanding re TSA precheck is that it’s the airline that decides, on a flight-by-flight basis, who gets pre-check and who doesn’t on a given flight. The small-print which of course, nobody reads, states this .. somewhere. People think its ‘guaranteed’ every time, so you’re right to tell folks that it’s not automatic.

  7. Charly|

    If you are at the airport when you realize the checkmark is missing, simply go to the check-in area, and they can input it for you. It’s happened to me/us a few times and it is an easy fix, plus it then is on the return flight information/ticket.

    Or call if you realize too late after booking your flight, and they’ll do it on the phone.

    Just sayin’

  8. Mark VR|

    This happened to me after I got Global Entry and let my TSA pre check expire. I called my congressman and eventually a representative from DHS called me. He explained that I had to go to any airline website that I had used my Pre-check KTN and delete it and enter my PASSID from my Global Entry Card. I would have never figured it out without talking to the DHS representative.

  9. Mark VR|

    This happened to me after I got Global Entry and let my TSA pre check expire. I called my congressman and eventually a representative from DHS called me. He explained that I had to go to any airline website that I had used my Pre-check KTN and delete it and enter my PASSID from my Global Entry Card. I would have never figured it out without talking to the DHS representative.

  10. Kevin|

    So which is best to have in the long run, TSA precheck or Global Entry?

    1. Johnny Jet|

      GLobal Entry because you get TSA PreCheck with it

  11. Ellen G.|

    I just flew from Denver to Boise on a late flight. The TSA lane was closed on the one side of thw airport. I did not know that when you checked in with security, and you are cleared for TSA, they were supposed to give me pre-check card. Lines were not bad, but now I know.



  13. John|

    We’ve gotten pre many times & we aren’t in any program. But it’s been awhile, so I guess they stopped giving it to random people.

  14. Kent Sorenson|

    When I got my Pre-Check I went to” my profile” of each airline and put my number in. That way it’s already in my information so I don’t have to check to see if it’s on the boarding pass. Though I do sometimes double check to make sure it’s there.

  15. Nancy Dee|

    We have so much trouble getting my husband’s GOES status to give him pre-check on his boarding passes. Everything is entered correctly on the reservation, and mine works fine. The Alaska Airlines counter agents say they can do nothing about it, as everything matches. All I can figure is that his birthdate was entered incorrectly on a reservation one time, and now it’s a red flag or something. So frustrating.

  16. John Fly|

    I recently received my Global Entry Card but still have several years left on my original TSA Pre-Check membership. Should I only use the Global Entry PASSID now that I have it and forget about the original Pre-check KTN? Is there any difference or does it matter?

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Good question. I would ask the TSA just to be sure (https://johnnyjet.com/did-you-know-you-can-now-text-tsa-heres-how-to-ask-them-all-your-airport-security-questions/) but my guess is they will tell you to use the new number

  17. Meg|

    this happened to me on the way back from Europe this summer, one of the my boarding passes didn’t have it, others did.

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