What To Do If Your TSA PreCheck Status Isn’t On Your Boarding Pass

by SharonKurheg

Having TSA PreCheck status can potentially save you a lot of time (although maybe not quite as much time as in the past). So when you have the status and it somehow doesn’t wind up on your boarding pass, it can be a little frustrating. Here’s how to take care of that.

Why did it happen?

Good question. It’s most likely because:

  • Your Known Traveler Number (KTN) wasn’t included when making your reservation. Once it’s done the first time, the airline probably will keep your KTN in their files so it will then populate automatically. But it has to be done that first time for each airline you fly.
  • The name on your boarding pass is spelled differently from how it’s spelled in your PreCheck account.

These first two may particularly come into play if someone else is making your plane reservations for you. Say, work or a travel buddy. They may not know your KTN and you may not have thought to add it in later. They may also misspell your name (Mathew/Matthew, Chris/Christine, Jamie B. Smith/Jamie Blaine Smith), exclude the middle name that you always use, etc.

Other reasons for not having your TSA PreCheck status could be:

  • Your airline might not participate in TSA PreCheck. These are the airlines that do. But if you’re flying Aer Lingus, Gol or Air Transat, for example, you won’t be able to go through PreCheck because those airlines don’t participate in the program.
  • You got this on your boarding pass instead.
  • Your TSA PreCheck status expired and you didn’t renew (now don’t you feel silly).
  • You’re not guaranteed to get TSA PreCheck status on your boarding pass, even if you have TSA PreCheck; it’s done purposely by the TSA to keep everybody guessing.

What to do about it?

For those last 4, you’re probably out of luck for this flight. But for the first two, you may have a chance:

  • Log into your airline’s website, key in your KTN and reprint your boarding pass (note: if it’s too close to your flight time, this might not work. In which case, try the next option).
  • Go to your airline’s desk agent, with KTN in hand. They may be able to do whatever magic on their computer.

Hopefully, you’ll be able to get everything fixed and again have PreCheck status on your boarding pass. If not, well, if you think about it, it’s really just a #firstworldproblem and I personally wouldn’t get my knickers twisted about it too much. Stuff happens sometimes, right?

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


dan March 14, 2020 - 12:21 am

have a housemate whose GE is no longer shown on the BP with a DWI; showed the airlines agents at the airport to add it manually, but a no go after more than 1 attempt; housemate didn’t call the TSA to confirm the reason, but thinking that the pending DWI is likely the reason

JS January 31, 2023 - 8:12 pm

A DWI would likely result in losing Global Entry, but he should still be able to qualify for PreCheck if he applies again. I’d recommend he try to get PreCheck independent of Global Entry.

BB March 14, 2020 - 2:39 pm

Another option is to call the airline, have them fix the issue, cancel your check-in, and check you back in. Has this happen on SW and the agent knew exactly what to do.

Michele Brennan January 30, 2023 - 9:12 am

If you book your flights at the last minute, one-way, and not say someplace you travel frequently. It is possible it will not appear. This is a “red flag” in the travel industry. I have been a travel agent for almost 28 years… I have had a few people have this happen to them. Another may be if you had to be stopped multiple times due to contraband… it is like they suspend it for awhile.

Bob January 30, 2023 - 8:00 pm

I have a TWIC card and that’s supposed to be the same as the TSA Pre✓. Does anyone know if I was given the correct information?

joeheg January 30, 2023 - 8:04 pm

Here’s the answer from the TSA’s Website.

TWIC® and HME holders can obtain TSA PreCheck expedited screening by entering the identification numbers printed on their TWIC® card or state-issued CDL during the airline reservation process. Active TWIC® card holders enter their TWIC® credential identification number (CIN) in the known traveler number (KTN) field of their airline reservation. The CIN is printed on the back of each TWIC® card in the lower left-hand corner. Active HME holders enter the two-letter state abbreviation and CDL identification number from their state-issued commercial driver’s license in the appropriate KTN field. (For example: NY12345678.)

Les Patterson November 9, 2021 - 10:33 am

I paid $85 for this TSA precheck privilege and would expect to see it on my boarding pass every trip. However, this does not seem to be the case. Spirit airlines has tried to fix this a number of times, to no avail. I would not recommend buying this service as it does not work as advertised. You’re better off saving your money.

Maureen Sullivan February 2, 2023 - 2:13 pm

It works for me about 90% of the time. Definitely worth the $$$

S January 30, 2023 - 12:04 am

You can get tsa pre check and SSSS at the same time.

Dureen January 30, 2023 - 6:37 pm

For my husband who has had psoriatic arthritis for 33 years, not having his TSA precheck on his boarding pass ain’t just a “first world problem”. He can barely walk without shoes on. The pain is unbearable on the hard airport floors. Not everyone has it just for the convenience. Some of us have it to alleviate the pain associated with removing one’s shoes.

SharonKurheg January 30, 2023 - 6:49 pm

He can go through TSA security and be wanded instead of removing his shoes. My MIL used a wheelchair and never had to take her shoes off; she went through in her wheelchair and they wanded her. Similarly, some people can’t walk without their shoes on; they’re attached to braces that support their ankles and knees; they choose to get wanded instead.

Tim January 31, 2023 - 10:18 am

Thank you for pointing out that one can be randomly de-selected by TSA occasionally. That disclaimer is part of the letter sent to the passenger by TSA when the number is issued but is often overlooked. Also, I have found that it’s not just an error with the name that is commonly the problem. Birth date and gender are equally to blame. Again, this is usually because the reservation wasn’t made by the person flying.

Eleav Sirrom February 1, 2023 - 2:17 pm

As an airline employee, I know this is not the case:

“ Once it’s done the first time, the airline probably will keep your KTN in their files so it will then populate automatically. But it has to be done that first time for each airline you fly…”

There are two factors they will help to facilitate your KTN to populate each time:
1. You participate in the airlines loyalty/rewards program or have a profile set up that INCLUDES the KTN you were assigned, or
2. If you are on your device or computer, and log onto the airlines app or booking portal, if you have your system set up to save some specific details to auto populate, then it will be input automatically.

We can add it for you, or you can do so (the day of travel) on the kiosk when/where available. Once it is associated with a roundup reservation confirmation number (PNR), it will apply for the entire trip.

•NOTE: If your flight is cancelled or delayed to a point where changes are made, it is best to confirm that your KTN is still associated with your current ir new reservation.

Some airline apps will also allow you to add it, or call the reservation agent for assistance. Make sure it is not expired.

I had to explain this to a passenger today and pointed out that ‘it is not always going to be applied…’ for the reasons and other conditions mentioned in this article: Name and DOB must match 100% across all platforms.

I gave the passenger the toll free number to call and TSA’s Twitter handle to reach out to them to find out what was happening.

The same applies with the Redress program where there are no letters associated with your KTN: it is the passengers or who ever is making the reservation to have and include the number, because we don’t have access to it unless we are given permission to access your Loyalty profile (if you have one).

It is best to proof read your information before proceeding to completing your reservation, including the day and date of travel.

SharonKurheg February 1, 2023 - 2:38 pm

Thank-you for the clarification! 🙂

Jack February 1, 2023 - 9:09 pm

I have the answer to solving this problem. Show up an hour earlier and you won’t have any problems.

SharonKurheg February 1, 2023 - 9:14 pm

Showing up early won’t help with anything if you don’t know what to do when you get there ;-). And as you saw, there are things you can do way before your flight, so you don’t even have to arrive at the airport any earlier than usual.

Dave Thompson February 1, 2023 - 11:26 pm

I am tired of hearing ” first world problem”! If I paid for TSA precheck, I expect it.

SharonKurheg February 1, 2023 - 11:29 pm

If you do everything you can for it to happen, it will. But if you haven’t, or if the TSA has flagged you for some reason, then “expecting it,” just because you paid for the service, may not be realistic.


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