All You Want to Know About TSA PreCheck

Passing through security clearance is one of the steps of check-in process. Since there is always an effort to make the whole process simpler, easier and faster for passengers, these steps are revisited to make these better. Expediting security clearance assumes importance. Since airport security is government controlled and not by the airline, the government needs to be proactive in initiating this change.
The US government has 4 different programs running for this very purpose of expediting the security clearances for domestic air travel within USA. Some of these are also implemented at the international airports.
a) TSA PreCheck
b) Global Entry
c) Nexus
d) Sentri

TSA PreCheck (TSA Pre✓®)

Who are eligible for applying for TSA PreCheck?
American citizens or Green Card holders are eligible for this facility. Even foreign citizens can apply for it but they have to meet certain requirements of citizenship or residency.

What is the process of TSA PreCheck?
i) The passengers are required to apply to TSA for participating in this program. Simply click the link https://universalenroll.dhs.gov/workflows?servicecode=11115V&service=pre-enroll and you will be directed to TSA webpage for starting the process.
ii) TSA has set up enrollment centers all over the country. There are more than 1200 of these. After enrolling online, you have to visit any of these centers for fingerprinting, verfication of certain documents like citizenship, immigration and photo ID. The agent present there will meet you for about 10 minutes.
iii) Thereafter, these people carry out a background check and, if all is okay, it is done within 10 to 30 days.
iv) In the end, you are given a KTN, or the Known Traveler Number which needs to be used in the registered profile with the airline you are flying.

What all documents are needed for PreCheck verification?

You must present at least one document from the List A. In case you do not have any document in List A, you need to present two documents from List B (one valid photo ID AND one citizenship proof). List A and B are given below.

LIST A (only one document from this list)

  • Unexpired U.S. Passport (book or card)
  • Unexpired Enhanced Tribal Card (ETC)
  • Unexpired Free and Secure Trade (FAST) Card
  • Unexpired U.S. Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL) or
  • Unexpired Enhanced Identification Card (EID)
  • Permanent Resident Card (I-551) often referred to
    as a “Green Card”
  • Unexpired Foreign Passport AND immigrant visa
    with I-551 annotation of “Upon Endorsement Serves
    as Temporary I-551 Evidencing Permanent Residence
    of 1 Year”
  • Unexpired Re-entry Permit (I-327)

LIST B (at least one photo ID and one citizenship proof)

Valid Photo ID Valid Proof of Citizenship
• Unexpired driver’s license issued by a State or outlying possession of the U.S. • U.S. Birth Certificate
• Unexpired temporary driver’s license plus expired driver’s license (constitutes one document) • U.S. Certificate of Citizenship (N-560 or N-561)
• Unexpired photo ID card issued by the federal government or by a State or outlying possession of the U.S. This must include a federal agency, State or State agency seal or logo (such as a State university ID). Permits are not considered valid identity documents (such as gun permits). • U.S. Certificate of Naturalization (N-550 or N-570)
• Unexpired U.S. military ID card • U.S. Citizen Identification Card (I-179 or I-197)
• Unexpired U.S. retired military ID card • Consular Report of Birth Abroad (FS-240)
• Unexpired U.S. military dependent’s card • Certification of Report of Birth Abroad (DS-1350 or FS-545)
• Native American tribal document with photo • Expired U.S. passport within 12 months of expiration
• Unexpired Department of Homeland Security (DHS)/ Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC)
• Unexpired Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC)
• Expired U.S. passport within 12 months of expiration

How to add KTN Number after PreCheck on airline?
You have to log-in to the airline website and add this number under the Secure Flight Passenger Data. This SFPD is shared by the airline with the TSA. Therefore, all personal information, such as name, etc shall be same on all records. If you are making reservations using offline means, you must make it a point to mention this to the reservation agent.

Please note that KTNs are also issued for Global Entry, Sentri or Nexus Programs

How does PreCheck help at airport?

The KTN must be included in right field of airline reservation and the TSA PreCheck indicator (TSA Pre✓®) must be present on boarding pass and also embedded in barcode.

Those passengers who are selected in this program are required to go directly to the faster PreCheck lane for security clearance. All airports may not be having these lanes. Even if there is no dedicated lane for this, you just have to approach the airline assistants and show them the PreCheck verification for expedited screening. The benefit of TSA PreCheck process is that the passengers who are participating in it are not required to remove their shoes, belts, jackets, laptops and 3-1-1 liquids during security screening at airports.

Please note that any other documentation other than TSA Pre✓® KTN number, such as trusted traveler card of Global Entry, Nexus or Sentri can not be used in its place. Even TSA approval letter can not be used.

What Indicator needs to be printed on boarding pass for availing this facility?

Either of these three shall be printed: TSAPRECHK, TSA PRE, or TSA Pre®

Is my family traveling with me is covered under my PreCheck?

The TSA Precheck boarding pass passenger (parent or guadian) can take children of age 12 years or less only through the PreCheck lane at airport.

What percentage of people get PreCheck selection?
As per the TSA, about 99 percent of the people who applied for it get the clearance. Just the unlucky 1% get rejected. However, TSA does sent them letters detailing on why they were rejected and how they can make corrections to get the clearance.

What is the fee or charge for TSA PreCheck?
$85 is the fee for getting the clearance for travel for 5 years.

When does PreCheck membership expire?

The expiry date is given along with membership. You will be notified by TSA about it. The ideal time to renew it is at least 6 months before the expiry date.

How Many Airlines and Airports are participating in this program?
More than USA 200 airports and 73 airlines are currently participating in this program.

The list of airlines is given below:

Aeromexico Delta Air Lines Seaborne Airlines
Air Canada Eastern Airlines Silver Airways
Air France Edelweiss Air Singapore Airlines
Air India Elite Airways Southern Airways Express
Air Serbia Emirates Southwest Airlines
Alaska Airlines Etihad Airways Spirit Airlines
All Nippon Airways EVA Air Sun Country Airlines
Allegiant Air Finnair Sunwing Airlines
American Airlines Flycana Swift Air
Aruba Airlines Frontier Airlines Swiss International Air Lines
Asiana Airlines Hawaiian Airlines Swoop
Austrian Airlines Icelandair TAP Air Portugal
Avianca InterCaribbean Airways Thomas Cook Airlines (Scan.)
Azul Airlines Interjet Thomas Cook Airlines (UK)
Boutique Airlines Japan Airlines Turkish Airlines
British Airways JetBlue Airways United Airlines
Brussels Airlines Key Lime Air ViaAir
Cape Air KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Virgin Atlantic
Cathay Pacific Airways Korean Air VivaAerobus
China Airlines Lufthansa Volaris
Condor Airlines Miami Air International WestJet
Contour Aviation Norwegian Air World Atlantic
Copa Airlines PAL Express Xtra Airways
Philippine Airlines Qatar Airways Scandinavian Airlines
Porter Airlines    

If you have any query regarding this or want to share your experience, please use comments section below for the same.


Why International Travelers Must Be Extra Careful While Doing Online Check In?

As most of the American airline companies provide the facility of online or web check in for domestic as well as international flights, you might believe that the process is all smooth for any destination. However, this is not the case.
Online check in enables you to reserve a seat for yourself ahead of others but you might still have to get the passport verified and check-in bag. Therefore, airport check-in timelines for your airline must be followed along with online check-in timelines.

Prior web or app check-in enables you to assign seat and even pay for the baggage at lesser cost than at airport, even though you might still be required to be present at the airline airport counter.

While the international travelers can follow the US airline’s guideline on web check-in, there might be some special requirement from the destination country to provide entry into that country. This makes it important to always consult the airline before booking the one-way international flight from USA to that destination.

Now, mentioned below for the opening and closing times for check-in for international flights of different US airlines.

  • American Airlines (AA) allows online check in from 24 hours till 45 minutes before departure time of flight (90 minutes for international).
  • Delta Airlines, on the other hand, allows online check in only up to 24 hours before the flight departure time.
  • United Airlines also provides online check in facility beginning 24 hours before flight departure time but it does not give the last time. However, it does asks you to check the airport check in times if you need to have a boarding pass at airport or have to check-in baggage.
  • Southwest Airlines also allows online check in beginning 24 hours and up to 1 hour (90m minutes for international flight) before flight departure.
  • Alaska Airlines begins online check in 24 hours before and till 1 hours before flight departure time.
  • Hawaiian Airlines provides it for 24 hours to 60 minutes time window for web check-in.
  • JetBlue Airlines allows web check-in from 24 hours to 30 minutes (60 minutes in case of international flights).
  • Frontier Airlines allows it from 24 hours to 60 minutes before departure time. However, the last to check in at airport (for checking in bags etc) is 45 minutes for domestic flights and 60 minutes for international flights.
  • Spirit Airlines alos allows it from 24 hours to 1 hour before flight departure. You can get the seat assignment and buy baggage.

Best Ways To Get Cheap Air Tickets Anywhere In The World

Ah! for the love of flying cheap. Flyers are innovative people and they have devised any number of tips, tricks and tactics to find cheap air tickets. You can find wholesome literature on finding cheap flights everywhere on the web. While many of these tips or suggestions are practical, some others are misleading and confusing. In order to separate the grain from the chaff, we have provided one of the most practical and effective ways to find cheapest fares.

Here is a compilation of some of these very effective and practical methods of finding cheap flight tickets.

  1. Book in advance of travel date, preferably 3-6 weeks in advance.
  2. Consider round-trip reservations instead of one-way as the former are cheaper than the latter.
  3. Make use of the rewards points if you are frequent flyer member of any airline.
  4. Consider flying to or from secondary airports as these are less congested and less expensive than the major one. The only catch is that the city shall have a secondary airport to a main one. Do take into account the additional cost of traveling to or from that airport.
  5. Consider flying on less popular airlines as these might charge you less than the more popular ones. So, a Norwegian Airlines flight to European destination from America could be less costly than that of Lufthansa or Amercian airlines.
  6. Why not take connecting flight, if the time schedule permits? You might be able to lay hand on some attractive promotional package and also have advantage of seeing a new city and staying comfortably in a hotel for free.
  7. Be a volunteer to be bumped out of airplane in exchange for some attractive deal. Airlines usually ask passengers to move out voluntarily in case of overbooked flight. The airline will surely put you on next available flight at same air ticket price but you will have discount vouchers to redeem for future travel, and might even get a stay at a hotel for free.
  8. Have you called an agency for flight reservations? If no, then you have made a mistake. Why? The agency does have unpublished fares, that is, the fares which are not published on website or any other online medium for the benefit of the public at large. Rather, these are reserved for those customers who make a call to a flight agent. And, these can be really very cheap.
  9. Fly in the lean season or lean time of the day. In other words, if you fly during the non-peak season time, especially when you are flexible to be able to do it, then the best flight rates can be availed.
  10. Hunt for flight deals. This hunting can be done on following channels-
  • Airlines or Agency websites- You can subscribe to their newsletters and even set up airfare alerts.
  • Stand-alone offers available on use of mobile application of airline or agency
  • Offers provided on social media resources for getting more customers. Sometimes, the error fares are reported in social media. Even the agencies and airline offer exclusive discounts and deals on their social media accounts. These resources could be networking sites, forums, blogging platforms or any other.
  • Deals and bargain websites including the coupons sites.
  • Newspapers and other print media resources.

There are many other ways in which the cheap airline tickets can be availed. You just need to be active online and be ready to grasp the opportunity at right time.


American Airlines Signs Interline Agreement With Boutique Air

Boutique Air

Boutique Air, a commuter airline providing scheduled and charter air services, has inked an interline agreement with the American Airlines. This will provide online ticketing facility for Boutique Air on American Airlines website, aa.com, for passengers flying out of Muscle Shoals and to any other destination across the country. Muscle Shoals is a Northwest Alabama Regional Airport.

So, this interline agreement is rather limited in scope to begin with and is meant for only passengers traveling out of Muscle Shoals. However, this makes it extremely convenient for them as they do not have to buy two tickets from two websites and waste double the time. Now, they can do it easily on one website.

Furthermore, the check-in bag would not need to be screened and cleared multiple times. It could be checked-in till the final destination, saving time and effort and providing seamless travel opportunity to passengers of two airlines.

It shall be noted that Boutique Air was also in codeshare agreement with United Airlines, another major carrier, last year. This had allowed passengers to book tickets on United Airlines website for flights operated by Boutique Air and also earn the MileagePlus points while flying with Boutique Air.

About Boutique Air

Boutique Air is a FAA certified airlines operating charter and scheduled service connecting smaller cities in USA. It is based in San Francisco in California and operates flights to Clovis, Atlanta, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Albuquerque, Phoenix, Carlsbad, Show Low, Merced, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Portland, Chadron, Greenville, Muscle Shoals, Denver, McCook, Thief River Falls, Baltimore, Pittsburg, Cortez, Alamosa, Pendleton, Boston, Massena, Dodge City, Minneapolis, Telluride, Victoria and Johnstown.


New Features of the Delta Mobile App for Check-in Purposes

fly delta app new features

Delta Airlines is launching some new features in its latest mobile application – Fly Delta- which are expected to make the check-in process easier and convenient for its passengers. These features are:

  • Expand “auto check-in” to international flights
  • Offer integrated security wait times for Laguardia and Seattle-Tacoma airports

The “auto check-in” feature of the Fly Delta app was earlier done for domestic passengers two years back and on receiving a very positive feedback about its usefulness, it is also being launched for the international flights later in this year.

Using this feature, the passengers are automatically checked in 24 hours before their scheduled flight departure time and they receive an email or push notification alert to open the Fly Delta app and enter or confirm the passport details. Once the passport details are confirmed or entered, the passenger can move on the use the other features such as checking bags, changing seats, purchasing services and accessing the boarding pass.

The second major change to the Delta app will be for providing wait times for various checkpoints at airports. To begin with, this feature is being provided only for Seattle-Tacoma and Laguardia airports. Since the passengers will be able to know the wait times at various security checkpoints at airport, they can select their lines for faster clearance.

Besides these two changes, the Fly Delta app will include the following:

  1. Specific color accent would be fixed with each fare type (BE, MC, DC+, DS/FC, DO) and the same will be mirrored at the airport with same colors and signs. This will help in recognizing which fare type has been bought and their boarding time.
  2. Delta One and First Class travelers on domestic flights are choose meal up to 21 days in advance. Right now this feature is not present in the App.
  3. Provision of “Message Us” tool inside the App for getting in touch with airline customer support.
  4. Provision of accessing “carbon calculator” which will let customers offset carbon emissions associated with trips and invest in sustainability projects.

The features are expected to be useful for the passengers for checking in without hassles.

Click link for more Delta Airline check in methods, timelines, eligibility and other details.


US Airlines Liquor Carriage Policy on Domestic Flights

After having written about Delta Liquor Policy and United Airlines Liquor Policy, it was felt important to write a comprehensive article on various aspect of carrying and consuming self-brought liquor on US domestic flights. US Carriers allow carriage of liquor in flight and this depends on the alcohol content of the liquor.

Those alcoholic beverages which are less than 70 percent of alcohol by volume, but more than 24 percent, and are more than 100 ml before security clearance, it has to be carried in check in baggage and in original retail packing. The bottle or can shall not be open. And, you are only allowed maximum of 5 liters of liquor in check-in baggage per adult passenger.

Now, liquor in 24-70 % alcohol range can be carried in carry-on or hand baggage subject to the rules of TSA for hand baggage. This invariably means that this shall not be more than 100 ml, not opened and carried in tamper-evident plastic transparent bag. This is a general regulation pertaining to carriage of any liquid in cabin.

So, if you have already bought the liquor before entering security area and this is more than 100 ml but less than 5 liters and of alcohol content 24-70%, it has to be checked in.

However, if you have not bought the liquor before entering security clearance and buy it afterward the security clearance and the alcohol content is up to 70%, it can be carried in cabin with 5 liters per person allowance.

All those liquors that are more than 70 percent alcohol by volume are not allowed in the flight.

Carrying Liquor in Connecting Flights in US Domestic Sectors

How about carrying alcohol in a connecting flight? Well, if you have bought liquor after security clearance and are taking it in hand baggage in the first flight, and would be leaving the sterile area at airport for taking a connecting flight and again go through security clearance, you shall put the liquor in check-in bag if this is more than 100ml. If you do not have to leave the sterile area, then there is no issue. You can bring it in cabin.

What about liquor of 24% ABV or less?

Another question is whether alcoholic beverages of less than 24% be allowed or not? For the domestic US flights, if alcohol percentage is less than 24%, then it is not considered hazardous. So, the quantity which can be carried is limited only by the weight and size of check-in or carry-on baggage.

These above mentioned provisions are the rules of bringing liquor for all US airlines- American Airlines, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, JetBlue Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines.

Who is allowed to carry alcohol?

With respect the age of passengers who can bring alcohol on flight, it can be said that airlines have their own rules for it. jetBlue allows carriage of alcohol in domestic flights for persons of more than 21 years of age only. You must check with the airline about the age of passenger who can bring alcohol in flight. Naturally, it has to be an adult but the age needs to be known by calling the airline.


Consumption of Self-carried Alcohol in Flight

If you are carrying alcohol in hand baggage in a US domestic flight, then the rules might vary from one airline to another.

JetBlue allows you to drink the wine, beer or champagne you are carrying with you on condition that it is being carried in an unopened state and has been handed over the cabin crew for serving it to you. You cannot, by yourself, open and drink the wine, beer or champagne you are carrying.

Frontier Airlines does not allow you to consume own alcoholic beverages.

Hawaiian Airlines would allow consumption provided it is served by the airline attendant.

 


Delta Airlines Liquor Carriage Policy

Delta Airlines, one of the four major carriers in US, has a well-defined policy on carriage of liquor. Before the policy is mentioned, let us first define the term ‘proof’. This proof does not mean ‘evidence’ but is a term which is usually used in liquor businesses to define the quantity of alcohol (ethanol) present in the bottle. The most commonly used alternative terms is ‘alcohol by volume’ which is expressed in percentage but ‘proof’ is not expressed in percentage.

In USA, relation between ‘Alcohol by Volume (ABV)’ and ‘Proof’ can be expressed mathematically as, ABV=2×Proof. This relation can vary in other countries.

Delta Liquor Policy

When the liquor or alcohol is bought after clearing the security at airport, it can be taken as a cabin baggage or in check-in baggage on meeting the following conditions:

  • Up to 5 liters of liquor is allowed per passenger if alcohol content is between 48 proof (24% by volume) and 140 proof (70%).
  • Beyond 140 proof (70%) alcohol content, liquor cannot be taken in flights
  • Below 48 proof (24%) alcohol content, liquor can be taken without restriction as it is not considered hazardous.
  • The bottles shall be carried in their original retail packaging.

When liquor is bought before clearing the security, the provisions relating to check-in and carry-on baggage policy also comes into play. Check details of Delta baggage policies.

For a more comprehensive reading on taking liquor across all US airlines, please visit US Airlines Liquor Carriage Policy on Domestic Flights.


Maximum Number of Passengers Booked Online on Single PNR By US Airlines

 

Airlines Age Based Defined Category Maximum No of Passengers Booked Online on one PNR
American Airlines Adults (12+)

Children (2-11)

7
Delta Airlines NA, only ‘passengers’ mentioned 9
United Airlines Children (2-4)

Children (5-11)

Children (12-14)

Children (15-17)

Infants on lap

Infants (under 2)

Adults (18+)

Seniors (65+)

9
Southwest Airlines Adults (2+)

Seniors (65+)

8
Frontier Airlines Lap Infants (under 2)

Children (under 15)

Adults

9
Spirit Airlines Children (0-17)

Adults

9
Alaska Air Children (under 2)

Children (2-17)

Adults (18 and above)

7
Hawaiian Airlines Children (2-11)

Adults

7
JetBlue Airlines Lap Infants (under 2)

Children (under 14)

Adult

7 (without lap infants)

+ Max 3 lap infants (one per adult)

Max 3 children without adults in a flight, with total not more than 7.

 

As can be seen that different airlines have their own ways of segregating passengers on the basis of their age groups. Their policies are tailor made according to this distinction. Therefore, if you have plans to fly with any of the US airlines above, you shall know the policies of airline with respect to each age group passenger.


Special Circumstances When You Are Ineligible for Online Check in

online check in limitations

One of the most convenient ways of checking in for your flight is to use the website of the airline or its mobile application. However, there are certain limitations and restrictions which do not permit all passengers to use this facility. These factors which make a passenger ineligible for online check in are-

  1. When certain payments are due

If you have to buy extra baggage but have not been able to do so online, you will have to make the payment at the airport. This requires checking in at the airport desk.

  1. When documentary proof becomes mandatory

When traveling with an infant who is to be carried on lap and for which the airline does not charge, the airline would like to see the infant at check in desk at airport. You are also required to show the identification proof of the infant in order to establish the age as also parentage or guardianship of the infant. Therefore, passengers with infants are not allowed online check-in.

Similarly, passengers who have special conditions associated with them might need to show Fit To Fly certificates or other medical documents before boarding flight.

  1. When passengers have special conditions associated with them

Pregnant women, disabled and ill passengers are required to check-in at airport. They are not allowed online check in. This is so because the pregnant woman is required to show the type of pregnancy (multiple, single, without complications, with complications) and, even the Fit to Fly certificates to establish authenticity. Similarly, disabled and ill passengers are also required to furnish certificates establishing illness and its progress over a period of time.

  1. When more than certain number of passengers are traveling on a PNR

Maximum number of passengers traveling on one PNR who can book tickets online are restricted. If more than this number are traveling, booking has to be done using non-online means, meaning that contact centers or calling has to be used for ticket booking. Since even ticket booking is not allowed for more than a certain number of passengers, online check-in can bot be done as well.

USA airlines restrict this maximum number of passengers on one PNR as given in this post.

If more than this number of people have to fly, then tickets have to be booked at contact centers or on phone with the airline. This cannot be done online. Therefore, even check in cannot be done online for more than these restricted number of passengers.


How Much ZAMZAM Water Is Allowed On United Airlines Flights?

United Airlines ZAMZAM Water Carriage Policy

ZAMZAM water is considered to be holy water. It is brought from Saudi Arabia by devotees who go on pilgrimage or otherwise to the Saudi cities, particularly Mecca and Medina. Due the the importance accorded to ZAMZAM water, United Airlines allows its carriage on its flights with certain conditions.

United Airlines allows carriage of only one container of ZAMZAM water of upto 10 litres as check in baggage. This will be allowed free of charge and in addition to check in baggage allowance. These Jerkins or containers have to be well packed (seal packed) in a plastic covering in order to prevent leakage or spilled. If more than one containers is to be carried then excess baggage charges would apply.

Is ZAMZAM water allowed in cabin?

ZAMZAM water is not allowed in cabin. It can be only taken as a check-in baggage.