Looking for a way to make holiday travel less stressful?
Don’t forget that Coast Guard military members and civilian employees can qualify for free TSA PreCheck®, a Transportation Security Authority (TSA) program that helps you get through airport security faster.
Anyone who works for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is eligible for this benefit. If you are traveling on any of the 85 partner airlines as pre-screened, you are able to clear security at more than 200 U.S. airports without removing jackets, shoes, belts, 3-1-1 liquids, or computers. Last month, 93% of TSA PreCheck® members waited less than five minutes to pass through checkpoints, according to the TSA.
Do I qualify?
At the Coast Guard, all active duty military, reservists, Coast Guard Academy members, and civilians can take advantage of this program, which can be used for both official and personal travel. While typically an applicant must pay $89 for a five-year TSA PreCheck® membership and go through a screening interview, and fingerprinting, these requirements are waived for Coast Guard members, who have already gone through an extensive background check to get a Common Access Card (CAC). Once approved, your TSA PreCheck® membership will also remain active as long as you’re employed by the Coast Guard, so you’ll never have to pay the $70 renewal fee.
To take part, follow the instructions below. Note: The program is not currently available to contractors, even those who possess a CAC.
How do I sign up?
Military members are automatically enrolled, so you won’t need to opt-in to get this benefit. Instead, you’ll just add your military ID number in the Known Traveler Number (KTN) field when booking a flight. You can find this number on the back of your Common Access Card (CAC).
Civilian employees will need to opt-in to the program by visiting the milConnect website. After logging into the site, please update your profile and check the opt-in box for TSA PreCheck®. Once submitted, it can take up to three days for your number to be active for use at the airport. When booking travel, add your Department of Defense (DoD) issued military ID number in the KTN field. You can find this on the back of your CAC card.
If you’re a former military member who transfers to the civilian side, you will need to opt-in to continue taking part in the program.
How does TSA PreCheck work?
Once you’re accepted, be sure to record your CAC number in the KTN field when making a flight reservation and completing your airline travel profiles. This will result in the airline putting an indicator on your boarding pass that will identify you as TSA PreCheck® qualified and allow you in the expedited lane.
Note that all TSA PreCheck® members still may be randomly selected for standard screening as part of regular TSA procedures.
You cannot use your CAC card as proof that you have TSA PreCheck®. In addition, you must still have a Real ID or other accepted form of identification, such as a passport.
What about family members?
Children under 12 are allowed to join you as guardian in the TSA PreCheck® lane. Some airlines, allow children ages 13 to 17 on the same reservation to accompany you through as well, but that is not always the case.
The best option for spouses, partners, significant others, and children over 12 interested in TSA PreCheck or another DHS Trusted Traveler Program (TTP) is to apply here to be eligible expedited screening. Many credit card and loyalty programs cover the TSA PreCheck® application fee as a member benefit, so check the website to see if loved ones qualify.
I thought I had TSA PreCheck®, but the airline wouldn’t let me get in the expedited lane? What’s wrong?
You must have a valid boarding pass with a TSA PreCheck® indicator on it to access the TSA PreCheck lane. If you believe you should have the TSA PreCheck® indicator on your boarding pass but did not receive it, please call the TSA Contact Center at (866) 289-9673,submit an online form, or contact us at @AskTSA on Twitter and Facebook Messenger.
For additional assistance, you can also check out this FAQ or go to the TSA Contact Center. You can find information about participating airlines and airports here.