I have blogged a couple of times on the TSA’s Pre-Check which is like a Pre-9/11 standard of going thorugh security for certain people. I actually have four ways to qualify to go through the special TSA lane.
o Global Entry Card, used for getting through Customs, but also good for TSA Pre-Check (This card is normally $100, but free for United 1K)
0 United 1K
0 Alaskan MVP Gold
0 DoD CAC Card (All DoD members were enrolled six months ago)
I recently found an important difference between these different methods. Normally, you go to the Pre-Check lane and the TSA agent will swipe the boarding pass across the red laser and wait. If the machine beeps three times, then you go through Pre-Check and keep you shoes and belt on, but if it only beeps once, you must go through the usual TSA line. The machine will also display “LLL” if you are good to go and “CLR” if you fail and need to go through a regular check. When I went through recently in HNL, I used my CAC Card and the agent received a double pass. He remarked that this is the first time that he had seen that, but it resulted due to my using my CAC card at the reader, but the boarding pass had also been coded by United to pass me through. The agent told me that it always better for me to use the CAC card, because the pass rate was 100% for CAC cards versus on 70% for any other method. That’s right, all those elite frequent flyers have a 30% chance of being required to go through the regular check in order to “keep them honest”, but you military members hold a special position of trust (rightly so) and will always pass through.
Why is this important? Often, the Pre-Check line is away from the regular TSA security lines and I have seen many posters on FT and Milepoint complain about shlepping all that way only to have to go through the regular line. Now you know you can quickly move through security so show up at the airport closer to flight time. Also, you can wear your stuff knowing that you will not have to take it off except you’ll still have to watch the metal content so leave your boots with shanks at home.
Going through the metal detector, I was surprised by a beep about a second after I had cleared the machine. The agent told me that I had been selected for additional screening. This was simply a wipe pad drawn across my hands which, of course, came back negative. He told me that the machine was set to select between the xx and xx person who passed through the metal detector. He told me the actual numbers, but I do not feel comfortable in disclosing them here.
Another thing that I have noted at every Pre-Check line is that they are usually empty except for me. I discussed this with the agents and they said they are targeting the military to use it. While you have to be an elite FF to be qualified for the majoity of the population, every serving Soldier, Sailor, Ariman, and Marine is enrolled and allowed to use it on every flight. So get the word out to your brother and sisters in arms to got through security the easy way – TSA Pre-Check!
The information below was shamelessly stolen from the UA Forum, FriendlySkies’ Flyertalk post.
Airports with Pre-Check Lanes
Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI)
- The Pre-Check lane is located at Checkpoint D in the Main Terminal
Boston Logan International Airport (BOS)
- Pre-Check access is located in Terminal A (PMCO departures)
- The Pre-Check & Elite Line share the same entrance, which means that if you aren’t an elite, you’ll have to inform the agent at the front of the line that you are a Global Entry, etc, member
Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT)
- Pre-Check access is located at the security checkpoint closest to the United ticket counters (Main Terminal, Checkpoint B)
Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
- The Pre-Check lane is on the far left wall of the Premier Access Checkpint in Terminal 1
- An airport employee at the front of the lane will scan your boarding pass to detemine if you are eligible for Pre-Check access
- Pre-Check closes at 6:00pm
Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG)
- Pre-Check is located at the Main Checkpoint in Terminal 3
Denver International Airport (DEN)
- Open from 4:30am-8:00pm, daily
- South Checkpoint ONLY, next to the CLEAR kiosks
George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
- The Pre-Check lane is located at the Premier Access South Checkpoint – Terminal C only
Honolulu International Airport (HNL)
- Pre-Check lane is located at Checkpoint 3, adjacent to the US Airways lobby (a short walk from UA and Checkpoint 5; the UA gates can be reached if you clear at Checkpoint 3)
- Pre-Check is moving to Checkpoint 5 on February 14th
John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
- Was rumored to open in T7 at the end of 2012. So far, there has been no construction/addition of a Pre-Check lane.
John Wayne Airport (SNA)
- Pre-Check is located in Terminal A
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
- The Pre-Check lane is located in Terminal 7
- Enter from the Elite Check-In Lobby in Terminal 6, then walk to the checkpoint between Terminals 6 & 7.
- Pre-Check lane is on the far right side
Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU)
- The Pre-Check lane is located in the Main Terminal at Checkpoint 4
McCarran Las Vegas Airport (LAS)
- Pre-Check access is located next to the Premier Access/First Class lane at Terminal 1
- Airport employee at the entrance will scan your boarding pass to determine if you are eligible for access
Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport (MSP)
- The Pre-Check lane is located at Checkpoint 4, near Door 3
- If you’re facing the UA ticket counter, it’s the first checkpoint to the left
Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
- Will be located at the C3 checkpoint
- Lanes from left to right are: Pre-Check, GS, 1K/F/C, everybody else
- Nude-O-Scopes have been removed
- Pre-Check closes at 7pm
Orlando International Airport (MCO)
- Pre-Check is now live for AA/UA/US passengers at the Gates 1-59 checkpoint
- The lane opens daily at 4:30am, and is located on the left side of the checkpoint, next to the CLEAR kiosks.
Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT)
- The Pre-Check lane is located at the main checkpoint
Portland International Airport (PDX)
- The Pre-Check lane is located on the far left of the ABC Checkpoint
- Lane shared with the First Class/Premier line
- After clearing security head to right towards C terminal. The concourse connector is before gate C2 on the right. It will bring you to the D/E side where UA is.
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA)
- United travelers can access the Pre-Check lane in Terminal C (South Pier). The entrance is located on the far right of the checkpoint.
San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
- The Pre-Check lane for UA is located at the elite checkpoint in T3, along the far left wall of the checkpoint.
- Pre-Check closes at 6pm, along with the rest of the elite checkpoint
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
- The Pre-Check lane is located at Checkpoint 3 (Center)
Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC)
- The Pre-Check lane is located at the South Checkpoint
Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD)
- Pre-Check is located in the center of the departures level in the main terminal (near Harry’s Tap Room)
- If you do not get the three beeps for Pre-Check, you can still utilize the screening lanes adjacent to the Pre-Check lane. They are currently WTMD only.
Airports Scheduled to Come Online in 2013
Note: Some of these airlines are already online, though they are not setup at the checkpoints for UA gates.
- Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE)
- Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL)
- Indianapolis International Airport (IND)
- John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
- LaGuardia Airport (LGA)
- Lambert-St. Louis International Airport (STL)
- Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY)
- Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)
- Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)
- Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC)
- Tampa International Airport (TPA)