ANA, Cathay, and Korean Join PreCheck, Make Sure Your Known Traveler Number is Up to Date

A year ago Lufthansa became the 19th airline set up with TSA PreCheck. They joined Air Canada, Etihad, Aeromexico and WestJet as the first non-US airlines set up with PreCheck. And with that the massive US data-sharing, surveillance and passenger-convenience program had gone global.

Earlier this year 18 airlines were added including Spirit, Virgin Atlantic, Emirates, Copa, Singapore, Avianca, and Turkish to bring total participation to 37.

Now 5 more airlines have joined: ANA, Cathay Pacific, Korean Air, Finnair and Contour Airlines.

Here are the 42 participating airlines:

Anything that grows PreCheck is good for wait times and good for passengers who are able to get out of queues more quickly and without giving a peep show to a TSA employee in a booth.

You’ll want to make sure all participating airlines have your Known Traveler Number. I have award tickets on Cathay, ANA, and Korean booked currently (issued with American, Virgin Atlantic, and Korean miles). Don’t expect your known traveler number to pass through from a US frequent flyer program to international airline partner automatically.

Most people update their frequent flyer accounts with their Known Traveler number, but if you’re flying without one or using another airline’s frequent flyer program, it won’t go in automatically either. So make sure each reservation gets the number.

Getting PreCheck and Expedited Immigration

Global Entry is fantastic skipping the immigration and customs queues when you return to the U.S.

I didn’t love the fingerprinting or background check that went along with it, but I figured all my cell phone data was being logged anyway long before Edward Snowden was cool. So if the surveillance was inevitable I figured I might as well at least get the convenience.

Now that I have it, it’s hard to imagine life without it — and not just queuing up at immigration, but also that I always get PreCheck at TSA now (except when I’ve been “SSSS’d”) rather than having it be hit-or-miss through my airline elite status.

Four programs provide expedited airport security:

  • Nexus is the cheapest and most comprehensive. It’s expedited immigration for Canada, but gets you Global Entry and TSA PreCheck. It’s $50. But credit card and other fee credits don’t advertise rebating the signup cost. It takes approvals on both the US and Canadian sides and while appointments aren’t super-tough to get, it can take 2-4 months to be approved.

  • Global Entry is expedited immigration. The fee is $100 and comes with TSA PreCheck. It’s open to US citizens and permament residents, UK citizens, German citizens and Mexican nationals. UK and German citizens have pre-registration requirements through their home country.

  • TSA PreCheck is $85 and doesn’t come with any border benefits.

  • Sentri is for US-Mexico land crossings, costs $122.50, and includes Global Entry (and PreCheck).

Most US citizens want Global Entry because it includes PreCheck, for an extra $15 gets expedited immigration (of decreasing importance as immigration kiosks roll out), and it reimbursed by more premium credit cards than PreCheck.

Frequent Canadian visitors should get Nexus, and it’s cheaper, but the waits and dual approvals may discourage.

TSA PreCheck is much quicker to get, but if you want Global Entry (my preference) then:

  1. Consider an alternate interview location. When I first signed up for Global Entry I figured I’d do my registration in DC, but I wanted my appointment faster. There were available appointments at New York JFK so I made an appointment there when I could conveniently pass through the airport.

  2. Keep checking for available appointments. People make appointments and cancel them especially close in. The system updates in close to real time. Refresh the appointment times page and you may see dates open up.

  3. Just go in. Many readers report they signed up for an appointment in the future. As long as they were signed up for an appointment at some time, somewhere, they could show up at any enrollment center. And if the enrollment center wasn’t busy they could get their interview done on a walk-in basis. There is no guarantee this will work. And some bureaucrats will be less than helpful of course, since they don’t have to take you. Often appointments take much less time than scheduled and employees sit around, if they’re bored they’ll take you.

Maintaining Global Entry and PreCheck

Once you have it you don’t want to lose it. When coming into the country be sure to declare chocolates, candy bars, chips, or any various items of sustenance whether open or closed, for personal consumption at the airport or meant as gifts. Even if it’s just chocolates off of your flight.

And be sure to keep your profile up to date for instance if you get a new passport.

Expedited Screening Even When PreCheck Lanes are Closed

Whenever I’m at an airport which doesn’t offer PreCheck, or PreCheck lanes are closed (like in Philadelphia at 6pm or Miami just because), I still get expedited screening.

  • You keep your shoes on
  • Your Freedom Baggie of liquids stay in your bag (but honestly, they do anyway, I don’t remember the last time I saw a screener insist you take your liquids out of the bag)
  • Your laptop is still supposed to come out of your bag
  • You go through the metal detector, not the nude-o-scope

I still use a laptop bag that’s “TSA Approved” and so I just have to unclip the bag rather than taking the laptop out.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Great news. So, if we already have a reservation with one of these carriers, how do we add our known traveller numbers?

  2. Gary, Brussels Airlines will offer precheck next month. Just missed it on my recent SN flight. I’ll tweet you the proof.

  3. This only makes sense if your are enrolled in their ff program.

    I had enrolled in united ff in late 90s and had given them some BS information. Fast forward now and the ff program is closely tied to the nations security and it’s hard to make changes.

  4. It’s great to see more of these foreign carriers join precheck. Nothing makes me happier than to pre-print my boarding pass and know that my airport security hassle will be lowered.
    It can be a bit tricky to get your number added to your reservation, however. Earlier this year, while flying out of IAD on Copa, I didn’t get precheck, even though I had verbally given my number to a Copa phone agent. I stopped at their ticket counter on my way to security, though, and they were able to add my number AND get me precheck. So don’t give up if it doesn’t work in advance. (On a subsequent Copa trip, I was able to add my precheck number to my reservation during online checkin, and it did work automatically).
    It would be nice if a blogger with time on their hands gave instructions on how and when to add your number for all these airlines. I believe sometimes it’s only possible to add at check-in time.

  5. No TSA Pre Check option for international flights out of BOS, my home airport. I am flying RT to TLV via YYZ from BOS in a few days. I’m not sure there is any reason to give my known traveler info to Air Canada, since it doesn’t seem there will be any advantage to their having this in their system.

  6. NEXUS is better than Global Entry in every way (cheaper, does more stuff, etc.) except that all of the interview locations are along the US/Canadian border and at Canadian airports. If you live near the border or fly through Canadian airports (as I do), that’s no problem. If you live in Phoenix and never go to Canada, it’s a long road trip for an interview.

  7. Also have an award ticket with Korean for January. I assume they have to add the capability to accept a KTN; how long should that take?

  8. Thanks for pointing this out. I was just able to add a KTN to my ANA reservation for Sunday. The field is located in the Passport/Immigration section if anyone is looking.

  9. @Steve. Exactly, just called USA 800# and CSA knew about trusted traveler program, but said Korean doesn’t participate and didn’t have any info on a change

    So I’ll call befor Nov 8 RTW17.

  10. Where can you enter your KTN on a Korean Airlines reservation? I currently have a res, but don’t see an area to input. Thanks

  11. @Marsh at LAX, if you are talking about TBIT, you can go through security in another terminal which is connected through a walkway post-security. Two of these terminals have precheck.

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