British Airways is finally joining TSA PreCheck, TSA announced today, meaning passengers on one of the world’s largest airlines can skip the lines at security checkpoints.
The popular traveler program keeps growing, and this addition is a big one. British Airways (BA) ferries more people across the Atlantic than any other airline, so in some ways, this addition was long overdue. It had been rumored for more than a month as other airlines made the list.
British Airways Precheck Basics
BA’s inclusion in TSA PreCheck is welcome news for the biggest airline flying to Europe. BA flies to its London-Heathrow (LHR) hub from more than 20 U.S. cities, and the airline also has a handful of nonstop routes to London-Gatwick (LGW) and London-City (LCY).
Mammoth hubs like New York City-JFK (JFK), Los Angeles (LAX), and San Francisco (SFO) have direct BA flights to London. So do smaller airports like Nashville (BNA) and New Orleans (MSY).
England’s flag carrier is the 53rd airline to partner with TSA PreCheck. It joins all of its largest competitors, including the big three domestic airlines (Delta, United, and American), Lufthansa, Virgin Atlantic and many more.
See the TSA’s full list of approved airlines here.
If you’re flying BA or any of the 53 approved airlines, your quick trip through security isn’t automatic. You have to enter your Known Traveler Number (KTN) into your reservation or your frequent flyer accounts. That’s the key to getting through PreCheck.
How PreCheck Works & How to Get It
Signing up for TSA PreCheck is simple and straightforward. You’ll fill out a quick application and pay the fee. From there you will head to a certified enrollment center for a short interview (bring your passport), fingerprinting and a photo. If everything checks out, you should get the OK within a week or two.
Your first time through the PreCheck lane, you’ll wonder why it took you so long to join the program. The security lines are often drastically shorter, but that’s only half of the benefit. You get to leave your shoes, a belt and a light jacket on while going through security. Your laptop and the carry-on approved liquids in your bag can also stay put as you put them through the baggage screeners. If you’re eager to get through security faster, you have a few options. Including a few ways to get signed up for free.
One route to get in the PreCheck lane is through Global Entry. Global Entry is a separate government program that helps you speed through immigration when you return to the United States. However, it also comes with PreCheck. Read our post about the two programs to learn more.
Global Entry costs $100 for a five-year membership, while PreCheck costs $85. That makes it an easy choice: Go for Global Entry. The good news is that a growing number of credit cards will reimburse you for your Global Entry or PreCheck application fee.
That includes the Chase Sapphire Reserve, American Express Platinum Card, Citi Prestige Card and the PenFed Pathfinder Rewards Card, which has no annual fee. For more information on these cards, check out our Top Credit Cards page.
This is one of the biggest additions to PreCheck to date, and we’re puzzled it took this long. Given BA’s enormous presence at airports big and small across the U.S. and their dominance of the transatlantic market, this is a big win for BA fliers with PreCheck.