We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

TSA Pre-Clearance

Destination Expert
for New England
posts: 4,640
reviews: 150
TSA Pre-Clearance

Just curious - on a recent trip to LA, our 11 y.o was given Pre-Clearamce on both flights (it printed up on his boarding pass at the airport) there and back. Neither of us were given it, although we were allowed to go theough Pre-Clearance with him. He is not a frequent flyer (!) and I thought that you had to apply for this program. It certainly was quick (no liquids or electronics out, just shove your bag in the machine and walk through the detector), but as i thought about it more, what is the point of having this program if anyone can randomly be chosen to walk through? Any ideas what happened?

12 replies to this topic
London, United...
posts: 19,274
reviews: 23
1. Re: TSA Pre-Clearance

Are you sure you were allowed to walk through with him,,,you did not go through a different but adjacent aisle? That's what happened with my colleagues and I this week.

If you were it was possibly because he is a minor. Normally people are selected if they are frequent flyers, and they are put forward by the airline, you don't need to apply for it.

You sound angry in your post,...why?

Destination Expert
for New England
posts: 4,640
reviews: 150
2. Re: TSA Pre-Clearance

Oops, my bad, it was Pre-Check, not Pre-Clearance.

Yes, we all went through the same Pre-Check line, put our bags in the same machine, not adjacent ones. It probably was because he wa a minor, probably wouldn't have happened had he been older.

I'm not angry, was really pleased at the time since the regular security line for the initial flight late on a Friday afternoon was reallllly long. I was just wondering if the point of Pre-Check is to weed out the known travelers to make it easier to spot the potential problem ones, in which case a potential problem person might get through without detection if randomly chosen to go through lesser security. I'm likely overthinking this, or it is the nervous flyer in me doing the talking.

Phoenix, AZ
posts: 13,190
reviews: 187
3. Re: TSA Pre-Clearance

When PreCheck (TSA in the USA) was first initiated, it seemed to be rather random, which of us would get it. We are both UA 1K fliers, but sometimes it would only be me, or my wife. Then, after about the first 9 mos., we both began getting PreCheck on all of our UA flights. In the last several years, there has only been one time, when I was not PreCheck, and I think that was just through a glitch in my ticket. Of course, there are some smaller airports, where PreCheck is not available, so it does not appear on our boarding passes.

My *guess* is that you 11 year old was selected at random, though that does seem a bit odd to me. Back before it was so common, my wife and I would joke about why one of us got it, but the other did not. Sometimes, that speculation would get down to who voted for whom in the last election... but I doubt that had one bit of impact, though you never know... [Wink]

It's now so commonplace with us, that when we went through a small airport recently, with no PreCheck line, we had both forgotten how to do the dance - stripping down - in the TSA line. "Shoes? Oh yeah, I forgot to take off my shoes!"

I'd also sign your 11 year old up for the FF programs, as they seem to have taken a shine to them already. Wish that I had been a FF at 11 (about my first commercial flight), but that was back long before there WERE and FF programs.


Miami Beach, Florida
posts: 828
reviews: 24
4. Re: TSA Pre-Clearance

Anyone 12 or under or 75 or over gets TSA preclearance. They started giving it to me when I turned 73 and started using a cane, without my even asking.

Charleston, South...
posts: 317
reviews: 4
5. Re: TSA Pre-Clearance

We noticed that our 16 year old son was assigned Pre Clearance. He was able to zip right through last week. The security agent said it was randomly assigned.

Cape May, New Jersey
posts: 2,500
reviews: 64
6. Re: TSA Pre-Clearance

I've been surprised when my boarding pass was stamped with pre-check.

It seems not right for those who have paid for the program.

posts: 2,544
reviews: 132
7. Re: TSA Pre-Clearance

I've been directed to the line several times without anything printed on my boarding pass (that I noticed at least). I think some of it is a function of capacity and keeping the line moving as well.

Syracuse, New York
Destination Expert
for Seven Mile Beach, West Bay, Syracuse
posts: 2,951
reviews: 86
8. Re: TSA Pre-Clearance

Those who pay will get it most of the time. Those that don't pay will only get it some of the time. For some, that's worth paying for, but they make it very plain exactly *what* you are paying for (i.e. it's no guarantee that you will get through every time)

Cape May, New Jersey
posts: 2,500
reviews: 64
9. Re: TSA Pre-Clearance

It's not a guarantee when some are paying for the program?

Seattle, Washington
posts: 9,112
reviews: 91
10. Re: TSA Pre-Clearance

You are paying for Global Entry, and are not guaranteed to always get Pre-Check.

Reply to: TSA Pre-Clearance
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted