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Why TSA PreCheck Isn’t Showing Up on Your Boarding Pass

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Having TSA PreCheck is a huge time saver at the airport, getting you in a faster security lane where you can keep your liquids and electronics in your bag and your shoes on. But nothing can sour the start of your trip more than getting to the security checkpoint only to discover TSA PreCheck doesn't show up on your boarding pass.

In order to access the TSA PreCheck lane, your ticket must display the TSA PreCheck logo, even if you can prove you have it another way. Without it on your boarding pass, you'll have to go through the general security screening process.


mobile boarding pass with precheck


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It's annoying to be sure, but it happens to the best of us. There are a number of reasons why TSA PreCheck might not be showing up on your boarding pass, and in many cases, they're easily remedied.

Read on to find out why TSA PreCheck isn't showing up on your boarding pass – and what you can do to make sure that it does.


Reasons TSA PreCheck Isn't Showing Up on Your Boarding Pass

There are several reasons why TSA PreCheck won't show up on your boarding pass. Sometimes, you simply don't have the option to add it. Other times, it's something that's easily remedied so long as you realize it before you get to the airport.

Understanding some of the common reasons TSA PreCheck isn't showing up on your boarding pass may help you prevent it from happening in the first place – and save you some stress when you arrive at the airport.


The Name on Your Booking Doesn't Match

Nine times out of ten, it's your name. Don't get us wrong, you have a beautiful name. But the issue is usually that the name you input on your flight booking does not match the name registered to your Known Traveler Number (KTN).

The quickest way to resolve this issue is to contact your airline via chat or on social media (Twitter and Facebook). If all fails, you should contact TSA directly through Apple iMessage by texting “Travel” to 275-872, calling (866) 289-9673 or messaging @AskTSA on social media.


twitter dm tsa precheck


Known Traveler Number Was Not Added to Booking

We all make mistakes. Once you have your KTN, make sure you enter this number in the correct box when making your booking. Do not put it into the “Redress number” field, even if that's the only option available.

We recommend adding your KTN to each of your frequent flyer accounts so it is automatically included whenever you book a flight. It's better to do it early on in the process rather than waiting to input your KTN during online check-in.

For example, here's what to look for if you're trying to add your KTN to your American Airlines AAdvantage account.


Known Traveler Number


If, while checking in online for your flight, you discover that TSA PreCheck somehow didn't show up on your ticket or your KTN did not populate automatically to your reservation, you should have the option to add it at this stage. Simply edit your traveler information on the web or mobile app.


Your TSA PreCheck is Expired

There's a good chance you forgot or were unaware of your TSA PreCheck expiration date.

You'll need to renew your PreCheck every five years to keep it active. Luckily, the TSA PreCheck renewal process is much easier than the enrollment – and cheaper, too.

Unlike the initial application that requires a background check, the vast majority of current TSA PreCheck members can simply renew their memberships online. The renewal window opens six months before the current expiration date.

Last fall, the TSA made a consumer-friendly move by lowering the cost of renewing PreCheck to $70 for another five-year stint when renewing online. In-person renewals – when a traveler has a name change, for example – will still cost $78 for another five years.

When you're ready to renew, simply head to the TSA PreCheck renewal page and fill out the form. Of course, if you access TSA PreCheck through Global Entry you'll need to go through the Global Entry renewal process instead.


Your Airline Isn't Part of TSA PreCheck

Once upon a time, I was flying with ZIPAIR from Honolulu (HNL) to Tokyo (NRT) when I encountered a stressful situation. After a day of suffering from United's delays and cancellations, I finally made it to my hotel and went to check in for my flight onward to Japan. My day got worse. There was no place to put in my KTN.

Having taken for granted how easy it is to get PreCheck when flying with most U.S. airlines, I realized that not all international carriers participate in the program. Of course, now, ZIPAIR participates in TSA PreCheck, but there are still several airlines that have yet to sign on – most notably Ireland's Aer Lingus and Spanish flag carrier Iberia.

Do some prior research on whether your airline participates in TSA PreCheck, so you won't be flustered when you get to security and have to wait in the general security line. Messaging the airline the day before will not help if they simply offer no option for you to input your KTN. And again, under no circumstances should you put your KTN in the “Redress number” box.


Aer Lingus passenger information page


How To Add TSA PreCheck to Your Boarding Pass

When booking a flight, you will have the option to input your TSA PreCheck number along with your other passenger information. Your Known Traveler Number (KTN) is what you need to input here.


Alaska Airlines checkout screen


However, it's best to add your KTN to your frequent flyer account so you have a faster time checking out when booking a flight. Your TSA PreCheck number will be automatically associated with your booking if you are logged into your airline account at the time of booking. You can add your KTN under your profile settings.


Alaska Airlines frequent flyer account settings


You should also have the option to add your KTN to your booking while checking in for your flight online or on the mobile app. Remember: Do not put your KTN into the “Redress” field.


Alaska mobile check-in


If TSA still isn't showing up on your boarding pass, contact contact your airline via chat or on social media (Twitter and Facebook). If all else fails, you should contact TSA directly through Apple iMessage by texting “Travel” to 275-872, calling (866) 289-9673, or messaging @AskTSA on social media.

Before heading to the airport, double-check that the TSA PreCheck logo appears on your final mobile or paper boarding pass. You'll have fewer options to resolve the issue if you try to do so at the airport.


What To Do If You Can't Add TSA PreCheck?

Sometimes, your airline and TSA customer support simply can't help you.

Earlier this year, I was traveling with my dad and his TSA PreCheck was not showing up on his boarding pass. Despite hours of communicating with my airline and TSA customer support, the issue could not be resolved before my flight.

In these situations, it's better to keep calm and consider your alternatives as far in advance as possible.

Read on to learn a few alternatives to have in your back pocket prior to checking into your flight to be prepared if TSA PreCheck is not showing up on your boarding pass.


Sign Up For CLEAR

CLEAR® Plus is a privately run trusted-traveler program that uses both fingerprint and iris identification technology to confirm a traveler's identity. After enrolling on their website, travelers can go to any airport offering the service to complete the registration process, which takes around five minutes.


clear kiosk


Once you have been cleared at the CLEAR personal kiosk, ambassadors escort you to the front of airport security lines to have your boarding pass checked by a TSA agent.

But that brings us to an important point about CLEAR® Plus: It's much different from TSA PreCheck. CLEAR® Plus simply allows you to jump to the front of the general screening security line. You still have to remove your jacket, shoes, liquids, and electronics like everyone else. TSA PreCheck is a completely different security line.


CLEAR airport locations


It's a good alternative to save time going through security, but do understand this: it's not a replacement for TSA PreCheck. Having both could be a powerful combination, though, as you'll jump to the front of the PreCheck line rather than the general security line after being cleared at the CLEAR kiosk.

Unlike TSA PreCheck, airlines don't have to opt into participating in CLEAR® Plus. Whether or not you'll be able to use CLEAR depends on the airport. Currently, CLEAR is available at over 50 airports across the U.S. and counting.

But CLEAR® Plus comes with a hefty price tag of $189 a year. While you could get it for cheaper through an airline frequent flyer account or by holding credit cards with a CLEAR credit, the price is still quite expensive compared to the $78 (or less) you pay for five years of TSA PreCheck.

Whether or not it's worth the cost, especially given you might still have to show your ID to the TSA agent, is up to you. But it's an option if you can't get TSA PreCheck to show up on your boarding pass and are worried about getting bogged down at security.

Read our full guide to how CLEAR works!


Reserve Your Spot in the Security Line … For Free!

Don't feel like paying for TSA PreCheck or CLEAR? Select airports across the country, including some in Canada and Europe, allow U.S. travelers to reserve their space in line to go through TSA security screening at a specific time. The best part? It's 100 percent free.

Your window to make a reservation is between seven days and 60 minutes before your scheduled flight boarding time. You simply arrive at the airport with the QR code you receive after making a reservation and enter a special lane that takes you and your traveling party (up to 10 passengers total) to the front of the general security line.


MSP Reserve line at MSP Airport Terminal 2
The special security lane for passengers with an MSP Reserve reservation, photo courtesy of MSP


Today, it's available at eight U.S. airports – though not at every terminal.

  • Denver (DEN)
  • Orlando (MCO)
  • Los Angeles (LAX)
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP)
  • New York City (JFK)
  • Newark (EWR)
  • Phoenix (PHX) 
  • Seattle (SEA)

More airports across the country are expected to adopt a similar program in the near future.

Read more on the free airport security reservation system

Bottom Line

TSA PreCheck not showing up on your boarding pass is a common problem – heck, it's happened to many of us on the Thrifty Traveler team.

There are a number of reasons PreCheck may not appear on your ticket, but understanding the most common ones can help you prevent it from happening in the first place.


Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

39 Responses

  • Advice from a TSO here: Double check ALL your personal info before making your reservation. If someone else made your reservation double check it before checking in. Any mismatch between your PHISICAL (not the temporary paper) id presented at time of travel and what is on the reservation can result in your PreCheck not showing up and some will even get you sent back to the ticketing counter. In a busy half-hour I may send up to a dozen people back because their last name or date of birth does not match, and then there are the many minor mismatches between wrong gender and nicknames that may or may not get you sent back depending on local management policys. Also, look in the fine print of the PreCheck agreement – you will occasionally get de-selected due to a government dictated policy of random additional screening for everybody traveling by common carrier.

    • Thank u Lisa for adding this….. ***Also, look in the fine print of the PreCheck agreement – you will occasionally get de-selected due to a government dictated policy of random additional screening for everybody traveling by common carrier. ***I work for an airline and sometimes people get angry because their number and information are all correct, yet they don’t get the pre-check. Apparently there are so many people out there that believe it’s 100% given every time one flies. During my global entry interview I was told there is a 10% chance I will still have to go thru the regular line. And it’s happened twice to me. I wish everyone out there would take note…the airlines have NO CONTROL over who gets pre-check or not. If we put the number in there u gave us and u still don’t have it. It’s OUT of our control. Don’t complain to me or the airline… complain to TSA cuz it’s how they set up the system. People just need to read the fine print they agreed to cuz it’s in there for Pre-check and Global Entry. I wish the guy who wrote this article put this info at the top of his article!

      • BINGO!! i was looking for that right away. Got denied Pre-check 2-3X and finally asked TSA agent. This is NOT guaranteed even if we paid for it.


      • Exactly what I was going to mention. Sometimes All the proper steps can be followed and you still may not get PreCheck. It’s on TSA.GOV that they Sometimes do random screenings. My oldest son would randomly get precheck and we hadn’t paid for it. I have Global Entry and this year has been the 1st year out of 3 that I’ve gotten PreCheck myself.

    • Funny thing I have tsa pre check and had to goto ticket counter to add, however to save time there was 1 minute wait in regular line 7 minute wait in tsa precheck and 5 min at clear on my last flight. So I saved time in general .. to many prechecks can actually be slower. (Watch the time monitors and adjust, I got in faster then the rest ìn my grouP)

  • This information is essentially useless for those o us whose numbers haven’t been posted and only discovered it at the gate. I recently travelled with my wife and while her number (that I needed to supply) was on the list, mine was not. That problem was due to my own errors in recording the number, I admit. However, given that my number was cross tabbed to my passport as I needed to have that document with me to even get the TSA PreCheck I find it maddening that the person at the check in was unable (or was it unwilling??) to search for my number. Thankfully an understanding supervisor allowed my to pass along with my wife. It was after my returning home that I discovered my error. I also erred by somehow deleting any email I had received notifying me of my award so I could not even search for it to find my mistake. Given the interconnectivity of all the documents it is absurd that the TSA people cannot find a number that was not on a boarding pass and was not known by the flyer.

    • Neither the airlines nor check-in agents have access to any pre-check number or Global Entry number … Only u do. This program is run by TSA not the airlines

  • You forgot one important reason: TSA employs random security processes and you not always guaranteed to have Precheck, regardless if everything else is correctly done. It’s why Clear exists.

    • True. It happened to me, even though my son had it on his boarding pass, it did not show on mine, the agent tried to add, but could not and stated that sometimes they randomly want you to go through the regular security check, which is so annoying.

    • Was just coming to comment about this as well. Happened to me and after a bunch of running around, they finally found no error and that I was just randomly selected to go through full security check.

    • One of the reasons is name not matching how is on your reservation should be the same as your tsa or global entry card. I add the missing I informaron and that’s ok I work for AMerican Arline’s!!!

  • Sometimes the Middle Name or Initial could be added/removed by the airline, which would cause issues with TSA Precheck. Airlines does kindly ask for Middle Name on boarding passes when it involved loss or delayed baggage as many people have the same first and last name but rarely have the same middle name

  • Is TSA really just accommodating to Apple users or is this article biased? Can you just text “Travel” to 275-872 from any phone as a regular text message?

  • @Paul T, I don’t quite understand what you mean by “This information is essentially useless for those o us whose numbers haven’t been posted and only discovered it at the gate.”
    If you’re at the gate then you’ve already cleared security. If you have to go out of the secure area and back in, then by your own admission it was your fault to begin with.
    Everyone should check their reservation to ensure their number is in their PNR and if your traveling a partner carrier, say AA connecting to BA, just use the BA locator in your AA booking to pull your flight up.

    The information was very useful for those that don’t travel often, but for those that don’t pay attention, well that’s another story

  • I am very aware of the possible causes for a name being inaccurate, however the mere existence and requirement of a passport should direct the checker to the corrected version. The passport should be the point of common reference, and/or a specific document should be distributed to anyone possessing a Pre Check or a Global Traveller pass to reduce the confusion.

    • I work for an airline. Swiping ur pssprt adds ur pssprt information in ur record to give us the requirements u need to enter the country u are going to or transferring thru and once the flight is closed out it sends that pssprt info to the immigration office to the airport u are flying to. That’s it. U are responsible for giving the airline ur personal pre-check or global entry number. Best thing to do is to screen shot the number and keep it in ur phone and always ask the check-in agents to see if it’s in there.

  • In Los Angeles we were given Qantas boarding passes without PreCheck listed on them, and thankfully we were able to go back to the check-in desk to get the KTNs added (without a long wait in line, maybe because the agents realized they had just helped us and we were returning). Now I try to check our boarding passes before leaving the check-in desk. It is worth the extra time taken with the airline agent to get it added there, rather than going through the regular security lane. Especially with kids, it’s a huge benefit to not have to take extra items out of your carryon.

  • Get your boarding pass 24 hours in advance. If Precheck is missing you have 24 hours to fix the issue instead of checking in the morning of your flight where time is short and your in a panic. Your name must be consistent on your airline ticket and TSA account. Good idea to have your TSA precheck registered with your frequent flyer number.

    • Great idea, EXCEPT, in my case my departure was about 9PM. My receipt of the BP was the evening prior to departure. My estimated travel time to the AP was the entire day due to logistics. While knowing the KTN was incorrect or missing would have been helpful I didn’t have any available time to straighten things out. Plus I did have my number, but I apparently had recorded it incorrectly. Yes, it was my responsibility to record it correctly, and yes I did err when I neglected to accurately record it or take a screen shot, BUT I still contend that given the interconnectivity of all the docs, especially the passport, my error shouldn’t have been so difficult for the system to be designed in a way that it could be cross tabbed.

  • Simply check this website if your airline participate in the TSA PreCheck here https://www.tsa.gov/precheck/participating-airlines and if they don’t you are done and you should go to the airport earlier than usually. Unless you have clear? Idk I don’t have it…
    From my personal experience with non-participating airlines – Iberia, Lot Polish, Norse, the website above is correct.
    First time this happened I didn’t know about this “airline participation list” and I was hella mad, but I guess TSA charges both (people, airlines) for the program and both have to be enrolled for us to utilize it…

  • Once you apply for TSA (and Global Entry) all they want to know is who you are, where you are going at all times and your money, basically a surveillance of you at all times. They don’t care about the rest.

  • It’s the traveler’s job to add ktn to their boarding pass. I am flying southwest in two months. I added my ktn on the manage flight tab

    • What I do is smash the two last names together without the hyphen. It is what I see happens automatically with my last name automatically from most airlines. I also will usually leave the middle name slot blank.

      • I’ve not been successful with putting my last name into one word- it is 3 separate words. For personal travel, I have zero issues, but when I travel for the government, they make my last name 1 word and then it doesn’t match my ID, so no Precheck is issued. I’ve been trying to resolve this in advance with the airlines, mainly American and Delta, but they say since it is a government third party issue, they cannot correct it. Occasionally on the day of travel, someone at the ticket counter can fix it, but not always. For this reason, I try to use airports with Clear when traveling for the government.

  • This isn’t true about clear. At multiple airports I have been at they cut the TSA pre check line. It was so annoying last week at SLC, The general boarding line was moving faster than pre check because so many clear people were cutting the line.

  • It’s a bummer with a connecting flight if you get pulled for screening. My family goes on a vacation out of the country to the same spot every year. First leg of the flight back into the US: no TSA obviously. That’s ok but each year I get pulled coming back into the country to be searched before our first leg. Once that’s recorded on my trip ticket, I’m not allowed to change my 2nd leg of trip ticket at the window (in either our departing location or layover location) to include TSA Precheck. Husband could go through Precheck at layover in US but I can’t. We just add extra time now to clear a regular security line at our layover.

  • This happened to me flying from LAX to MEM. My husbands KTN was showing but mine wasn’t. I booked the tickets so I knew I had applied both our KTNs to our tickets. I just went to the airline front counter and confirmed with the agent what my number is and she added it to my boarding pass. *The issue was my husbands date of birth was showing as my date of birth as well as his 🤷🏼‍♀️

  • When you are a member of a frequent flyer program like aadvantage or United Air etc you are able to add your TSA to your info that will transfer to your boarding pass but you need to ADD it to any other passengers boarding pass that you are booking. Those are not automatic.

  • Dear Long Tran,

    This is an excellent article.

    Thank you for publishing it,
    and thanks also to the commenters.

    I am a long-retired airline employee,
    and learned a lot.

  • I retrieve my boarding ticket via kiosk. The problem is, if you look for TSA Pre-check on the kiosk’s screen (which is what you want) you will not find that wording. You need to know that SECURE TRAVELER is code for TSA Precheck. Learned the hard way. Also, the KTN font is almost the smallest number on the Global Entry card. Now my readers are required for travel.

  • “Contact TSA through Apple iMessage.” So people without iPhones cannot use that text message option? Or does TSA discriminate green bubbles as well? Media always advertising for Apple free of charge. Even on TV you hear hosts saying your iPhone instead of your cellphone. I do use iPhone but find this funny.
    Great article though.

  • We discovered after several experiences with Hawaiian Airlines that you have to put your KTN in the Redress Box for it to be effective for TSA Precheck.

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