Global Entry vs TSA Pre-Check

Global Entry vs TSA Pre-Check,
What are the differences and which one should you get.

I finally decided I had enough of taking off my shoes, pulling off my belt, getting out the liquids and taking out my electronics for airport security, so I applied for TSA Pre-Check.  I was surprised how quick and simple the application process was, and I did everything right online.  Once my application was submitted, and I made an appointment at the nearest office to have my fingerprints taken and pay the $85 non-refundable fee.  Now the fee is non-refundable if you are denied, but if you are approved, the $85 fee means that your TSA Pre-check status is good for 5 years.  Not having to worry about taking my shoes off, belts, liquids, or computers out of my bag for 5 years seems like a good deal at $85.  Also, anyone under the age of 12 who is traveling with a person who has TSA Pre-Check on their boarding pass will also get to go through with them. 


So how does this all work?  After filling out the online application, and getting my fingerprints taken, I waited for my background check to clear.  About three weeks after my appointment I received a letter in the mail saying that I was approved and I was given a Known Traveler Number or KTN.







The number is a bit hidden in the letter, but after searching for a while I found it. Then I simply put this number into all of my profiles with the various airlines.  If you have a profile with an airline to receive mileage, there is a section for KTN.  Not all airlines participate in the TSA Pre-Check but there are about 16 airlines that participate including the major airlines like United, Delta, SouthWest, and American.  Once you have made a reservation with an airline, as long as your KTN is in your profile or you have added it to your reservation, then your boarding pass will print out with TSA Pre-check on the top.  Now, I say it sounds simple but the first time I used mine, I did not have TSA Pre-Check on the top of my boarding pass and even bringing a copy of my letter with me, didn’t allow me access to the TSA Pre-check line.  I called the airline to find out why I didn’t have TSA Pre-Check status on the top of my boarding pass and I was told there were two possible reasons.  My name didn’t match exactly from what was in the TSA system to what was in their system or you need one cycle for your first use of your KTN and then it will automatically appear.  After checking my name was correct, I checked in online for my flight home and gladly found TSA Pre-Check at the top of my boarding pass.  So just in case you don’t have it on your first trip of using your KTN, it should appear on the next, especially if your name is correct on both ends. 

Now for those who travel internationally, there is also Global Entry.  Global Entry is a program through the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency. The benefit of applying for Global Entry would be that once you arrive back in the United States, hopefully from an amazing river cruise, you simply check-in at the Global Entry kiosk and then you are on your way to get your luggage.  At the kiosk you will have to scan your passport barcode, place your fingerprints on the scanner for fingerprint verification, and complete a customs declaration form.  Once these are completed, the kiosk will issue you a transaction receipt and will tell you how to get to the nearest baggage claim and/or exit.  So simple and it will save you time.

You can apply online for Global Entry using their Global Online Enrollment System (GOES), and pay the $100 non-refundable fee upfront.  Once your payment and application have been approved by Customs and Border Patrol, they will tell you to schedule an interview at your nearest Global Entry Enrollment Center through the GOES systems.  Bring your required forms of identification, and get ready to answer a few simple questions.  Once you are approved, you will receive a Trusted Traveler’s Membership number which you can easily access through the GOES system, and it will be mailed to you within a month. 

Global Entry also includes TSA Pre-check!  So for $15 more, I would suggest applying for Global Entry and once you are approved the that you can also put your Trusted Traveler’s Membership number into KTN field.  Even if you only travel internationally once a year or once every other year, this is a peace of mind knowing that you don’t have to wait in those long lines to get through customs.

Congratulations to Mary! 

She recently earned the distinguished Certified Travel Associate (CTA) designation from the Travel Institute, the travel industry’s oldest education organization.  She completed a comprehensive exam-based training program that demonstrates extensive industry knowledge and experience, and she must continue to fulfill stringent education credit requirements each year. 


Have a Great Week!

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