Confused about TSA "Pre" status

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Confused about TSA "Pre" status

Postby john94549 » Sat Nov 30, 2013 9:02 pm

OK, I fly maybe once, twice a year, max. Today, my wife printed out our boarding passes on a United flight from SFO to Maui, and my boarding pass showed I was TSA "pre". My wife, who flies much more often, was not. I never applied for "pre" (whatever that means), but it meant I could stand in a much shorter line, not (partially) disrobe, avoid the infamous full-body scan, keep my laptop in my briefcase, etc. Gosh golly, it felt like "VIP" status. Mind you, I never applied for this, never went through any sort of background check, so how did this happen?
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Re: Confused about TSA "Pre" status

Postby VictoriaF » Sat Nov 30, 2013 9:05 pm

I am glad you asked. The same happened to me on recent domestic fights and I was wondering how it came about.

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Re: Confused about TSA "Pre" status

Postby Langkawi » Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:00 pm

This article may be illuminating:
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/26/business/precheck-meets-its-goal-and-prepares-to-expand.html

THE Transportation Security Administration says it has met its goal of having 25 percent of air travelers using the speedy PreCheck security lanes by the end of this year.

Good for the T.S.A., I say — and I’m hearing the same positive reactions from travelers who, through no overt effort of their own, are being routinely waved into a PreCheck lane at the airport. But I’m also hearing from some people who thought they had to be officially enrolled to get into the fast lane. What’s going on here?
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Re: Confused about TSA "Pre" status

Postby VictoriaF » Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:11 pm

Thank you, Langkawi!

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Re: Confused about TSA "Pre" status

Postby sscritic » Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:40 pm

Got it twice this week, but only today* was there a separate line to get to TSA. There was no one ahead of me, so I walked straight up to a separate agent handling the separate line. Sweet!

* There may have been a separate line earlier in the week, but I had no clue, didn't notice the TSA Pre on my boarding pass, and got confused by the agent's instructions when I got to the front of the regular line. :)
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Re: Confused about TSA "Pre" status

Postby VictoriaF » Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:42 pm

Perhaps TSA agents visit this site and single out Bogleheads?

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Re: Confused about TSA "Pre" status

Postby sscritic » Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:43 pm

john94549 wrote:OK, I fly maybe once, twice a year, max. Today, my wife printed out our boarding passes on a United flight from SFO to Maui, and my boarding pass showed I was TSA "pre". My wife, who flies much more often, was not. I never applied for "pre" (whatever that means), but it meant I could stand in a much shorter line, not (partially) disrobe, avoid the infamous full-body scan, keep my laptop in my briefcase, etc. Gosh golly, it felt like "VIP" status. Mind you, I never applied for this, never went through any sort of background check, so how did this happen?

How much older than your wife are you? I noticed most of the Pres were old f**ts* (of both sexes).

* [if the t bothers you, change it to a k]
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Re: Confused about TSA "Pre" status

Postby john94549 » Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:53 pm

sscritic wrote:
john94549 wrote:OK, I fly maybe once, twice a year, max. Today, my wife printed out our boarding passes on a United flight from SFO to Maui, and my boarding pass showed I was TSA "pre". My wife, who flies much more often, was not. I never applied for "pre" (whatever that means), but it meant I could stand in a much shorter line, not (partially) disrobe, avoid the infamous full-body scan, keep my laptop in my briefcase, etc. Gosh golly, it felt like "VIP" status. Mind you, I never applied for this, never went through any sort of background check, so how did this happen?

How much older than your wife are you? I noticed most of the Pres were old f**ts* (of both sexes).

* [if the t bothers you, change it to a k]



Actually, she is a month older than I am. So much for that theory.
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Re: Confused about TSA "Pre" status

Postby etarini » Sat Nov 30, 2013 11:15 pm

Me, too! My wife and I flew Boston to Chicago O'Hare on Wednesday and got the TSA Pre on both boarding passes. At Logan Airport when we left, there was a single line about 100 feet long, and before we could take our place in it, we were directed to a line that was completely empty - no one in front of us, and we walked right up to the TSA agent. I just printed out the boarding passes for our return trip tomorrow, and it's got the same TSA Pre markings.

I'd heard of the program, but didn't think it was worth the trouble or the cost, but now I'm having second thoughts. Maybe this is just great marketing. I'm 64; my wife will be 63 next month, and I'd have to say that we certainly look pretty incapable of anything remotely threatening.

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Re: Confused about TSA "Pre" status

Postby john94549 » Sun Dec 01, 2013 3:04 am

I suspect etarini nailed it, it's just great marketing. Now that I've experienced the "pre" , I could never go back to pre-"pre", as it were. I do have an aversion to lines of any sort.

Lift a glass of cheer to whoever at TSA figured out how to un-market misery.

They bonk you over the head, then charge you to stop. And you feel wonderful.
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Re: Confused about TSA "Pre" status

Postby livesoft » Sun Dec 01, 2013 6:07 am

I don't think there has ever been a cost for TSA Pre, which is not to be confused with Customs/Immigration Global Entry. If you buy your tickets online, the airline may automatically submit your info to the TSA Pre program and you are in.

Note that once in the program, you are not guaranteed to have TSA Pre marked on your ticket and the airport has to have TSAPre security lines as well. In other words, you can have TSAPre marked on your tickets for the next 10 flights, but on the 11th, you may not have it.
It's all about short-term opportunistic rebalancing due to a short-term change in one's asset allocation, uh, I mean opportunistic rebalancing, uh I mean rebalancing, uh I mean market timing.
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Re: Confused about TSA "Pre" status

Postby Diogenes » Sun Dec 01, 2013 8:00 am

If you travel much overseas I think GlobalEntry is worth it for a variety of reasons. For one it is a big savings to use the automated entry kiosks instead of lining up at immigration. If you partipate in the program you automatically are usually marked for PreCheck status for domestic flights. That alone has saved us both significant time and aggravation.
Otherwise, being marked for PreCheck on your boarding pass will be unpredictable.

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Re: Confused about TSA "Pre" status

Postby sscritic » Sun Dec 01, 2013 8:03 am

Diogenes wrote:Otherwise, being marked for PreCheck on your boarding pass will be unpredictable.

Who doesn't like winning the lottery? It is the unpredictability that makes winning a TSA Pre such a thrill!
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Re: Confused about TSA "Pre" status

Postby Outer Marker » Sun Dec 01, 2013 9:13 am

There once were two ways to get into the TSA pre-check program

a) medallion level frequency flyers were screened and enrolled as known travelers.

b) by signing up for DHS's "global entry" travelers are screened and vetted, those deemed low risk are eligible for both global entry (allowing you to bypass customs line and use a kiosk instead) -- and qualify for pre-check expedited screening process.

TSA has since eliminated the first avenue -- so you now need to do global entry to get into pre-check. (There are a few specialty exceptions like active duty military). If you do any significant amount of travel, the global entry fee is well worth it.
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Re: Confused about TSA "Pre" status

Postby john94549 » Sun Dec 01, 2013 10:16 am

Outer Marker, as I am neither a "frequent flier" nor a "known traveler", my status will remain a mystery. I have no clue about "global entry". All in all, I suspect they have me confused with another person with my same name. Maybe someone with my name (or similar) works for the (fill in the blank, "hush-hush" stuff). Whatever, I'll take it. Were I younger, and unmarried, I might sign up for that "global entry" thing. Sounds a bit kinky.
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Re: Confused about TSA "Pre" status

Postby etarini » Sun Dec 01, 2013 9:25 pm

sscritic wrote:Who doesn't like winning the lottery? It is the unpredictability that makes winning a TSA Pre such a thrill!


Unfortunately, on the way home I did win the lottery, but my wife didn't, so she had to go over to the slow line. Would've been better if it had been the other way around, or both, or neither. But it has gotten me thinking about Global Entry, if it really also gets you TSA Pre as well. We only go abroad about once a year, so that's not a big advantage to us, but TSA Pre would be. If it's $100 for 5 years, I might consider it.

Eric
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Re: Confused about TSA "Pre" status

Postby stan1 » Sun Dec 01, 2013 9:32 pm

etarini wrote:
sscritic wrote:Who doesn't like winning the lottery? It is the unpredictability that makes winning a TSA Pre such a thrill!


Unfortunately, on the way home I did win the lottery, but my wife didn't, so she had to go over to the slow line. Would've been better if it had been the other way around, or both, or neither. But it has gotten me thinking about Global Entry, if it really also gets you TSA Pre as well. We only go abroad about once a year, so that's not a big advantage to us, but TSA Pre would be. If it's $100 for 5 years, I might consider it.

Eric


The biggest hassle with Global Entry is you have to go to their enrollment center (usually at an airport) in person for an interview and fingerprints. Even though I live in a metropolitan area of over 3 million people the nearest such enrollment center is over 120 miles from my house. There is one enrollment center at LAX to serve over 20 million people in Southern California.
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Re: Confused about TSA "Pre" status

Postby rob » Sun Dec 01, 2013 9:35 pm

So now the TSA is charging for what they should be doing in the first place - efficient security instead of the pantomime we get now...... Gee the marketers & politicans must be rubbing their hands in joy :twisted:
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Re: Confused about TSA "Pre" status

Postby VictoriaF » Sun Dec 01, 2013 9:36 pm

etarini wrote:
sscritic wrote:Who doesn't like winning the lottery? It is the unpredictability that makes winning a TSA Pre such a thrill!


Unfortunately, on the way home I did win the lottery, but my wife didn't, so she had to go over to the slow line. Would've been better if it had been the other way around, or both, or neither. But it has gotten me thinking about Global Entry, if it really also gets you TSA Pre as well. We only go abroad about once a year, so that's not a big advantage to us, but TSA Pre would be. If it's $100 for 5 years, I might consider it.

Eric


But eventually TSA Pre may become like a toll road. Everyone will be paying to go into the fast lane, and the fast lane will become anything but fast.

Another possibility is that a terrorist will figure out how to get into TSA Pre and will exploit it. Apart from a potential calamity, the program would be stopped immediately. I think one protection from this eventuality is always to pick fast-track candidates in random.

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Re: Confused about TSA "Pre" status

Postby Aptenodytes » Sun Dec 01, 2013 9:38 pm

stan1 wrote:The biggest hassle with Global Entry is you have to go to their enrollment center (usually at an airport) in person for an interview and fingerprints. Even though I live in a metropolitan area of over 3 million people the nearest such enrollment center is over 120 miles from my house. There is one enrollment center at LAX to serve over 20 million people in Southern California.

What I did when I was ready to sign up was just schedule an appointment before my next international flight, at the airport I was departing from. No need to make a special trip to the airport just for the interview.
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Re: Confused about TSA "Pre" status

Postby alisa4804 » Sun Dec 01, 2013 9:41 pm

Rumor at our office is we are getting "TSA pre" somehow because we are government employees. We don't travel often; didn't apply for anything and were on personal travel, not work. While in the "TSA pre" line the first time, I discreetly asked the person ahead of me "How did we get in this line?" and liked her response, "don't ask!" After years of taking off shoes, pulling out the baggie of liquids, laptop, etc, we just breeze right thru, even with full water bottles...
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Re: Confused about TSA "Pre" status

Postby VictoriaF » Sun Dec 01, 2013 9:50 pm

alisa4804 wrote:Rumor at our office is we are getting "TSA pre" somehow because we are government employees. We don't travel often; didn't apply for anything and were on personal travel, not work. While in the "TSA pre" line the first time, I discreetly asked the person ahead of me "How did we get in this line?" and liked her response, "don't ask!" After years of taking off shoes, pulling out the baggie of liquids, laptop, etc, we just breeze right thru, even with full water bottles...


Thank you, Alisa. This is great news, but I am still puzzled how they match the Federal employment status with the personal ticket sales. I will try to have a water bottle next time I travel.

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Re: Confused about TSA "Pre" status

Postby sscritic » Sun Dec 01, 2013 9:54 pm

There is no cost to TSA Pre. You know I am too cheap to ever pay. I don't pay Southwest for a low number using EarlyBird Check-In nor am I an A Lister, although I do play the race for A16. This week I got A29 and A36, while my niece got B39 even though she checked-in on-line at the magic 24 hours in advance. Oh did I gloat! (Line racing at Disneyland is another favorite pastime.)

Southwest Passengers that are eligible for TSA PreCheck include:

U.S. Citizens who are members of a Customs and Border Patrol Trusted Traveler program, including Global Entry, SENTRI, and NEXUS

Canadian Citizens who are members of NEXUS

U.S Citizens who are Rapid Rewards® Members that the TSA deems eligible and opt-in to participate in the program

U.S. Citizens who have applied and been approved for the TSA PreCheck™ Application Program*

Any active duty, U.S. Armed Forces service members in the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy, as well as the Reserves and National Guard, with a DOD ID (Effective for travel on December 20th and after)

Additionally, using its Secure Flight system, the TSA will also proactively prescreen Passengers who are traveling, with the goal of possibly pre-clearing more Passengers to use TSA PreCheck lanes. These Passengers will not be required to “opt-in” via their Rapid Rewards account or include a KTN at time of booking. They also will not be required to submit any additional information, submit an application, or pay a fee. However, TSA will be able to provide some of these Passengers with the opportunity for expedited screening on a flight-by-flight basis by analyzing information already provided by Passengers through existing Secure Flight program requirements such as name, date of birth, and gender.

* This TSA PreCheck Application Program is not available yet. To learn more about when this opportunity will be available, go to http://www.tsa.gov.
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Re: Confused about TSA "Pre" status

Postby alisa4804 » Sun Dec 01, 2013 10:00 pm

how they match the Federal employment status with the personal ticket sales


Yeah, a little creepy if the airlines are tracking that, but why are we surprised? And the full water bottle was an oversight; just forgot to dump it out. So I'm not sure if that requirement of no liquids is relaxed, as well. Safe travels!
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Re: Confused about TSA "Pre" status

Postby VictoriaF » Sun Dec 01, 2013 10:02 pm

I think I will just enroll in the Global Entry and enjoy the perques.

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Re: Confused about TSA "Pre" status

Postby sscritic » Sun Dec 01, 2013 10:10 pm

alisa4804 wrote: So I'm not sure if that requirement of no liquids is relaxed, as well.

Eligible participants will be allowed to use dedicated TSA PreCheck lanes in participating airports for screening benefits which could include no longer removing the following items:

Shoes
3-1-1 compliant bag from carry-on
Laptop from bag
Light outerwear/jacket
Belt

You don't have to take your toothpaste out of your carry-on. Read more about 3-1-1 at TSA.
Liquids, aerosols and gels, in limited quantities, are safe to bring aboard an aircraft. Each traveler is allowed one bag in order to limit the total volume of liquids, aerosols and gels. Consolidating products into one bag and X-raying them separately from the carry-on bag enables security officers to quickly clear all items.*

3-1-1 for carry-ons = 3.4 ounce (100ml) bottle or less (by volume); 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag; 1 bag per passenger placed in screening bin. One-quart bag per person limits the total liquid volume each traveler can bring. 3.4 ounce (100ml) container size is a security measure.

Be prepared. Each time TSA searches a carry-on it slows down the line. Practicing 3-1-1 will ensure a faster and easier checkpoint experience.

* But TSA Pre doesn't have to. Huzzah!

P.S. Have I mentioned google lately?
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Re: Confused about TSA "Pre" status

Postby alisa4804 » Sun Dec 01, 2013 10:32 pm

P.S. Have I mentioned google lately?


Thanks, sscritic! I was referring to the full (24 oz!) water bottle I forgot to empty; it did go thru the X-ray conveyor belt, in my purse; I just forgot to dump it out before security. TSA either did not notice it or let it pass. We were a little befuddled getting directed into "TSA-pre" for the first time.
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Re: Confused about TSA "Pre" status

Postby sscritic » Sun Dec 01, 2013 10:43 pm

Not a pre story, but a TSA story. So I have an old fashioned flip phone on t-Mobile pre-paid (have I mentioned being thrifty?). To get through TSA, I always put it in my carry-on so I don't have to put it in the little basket. Yesterday, after I passed through TSA, I couldn't find my phone, which I had left on the top of the bag (which was in the full locked up-right position) as I approached the screening machine. After looking around my seat in the waiting area and asking my neighbors if they had seen a spare really old looking phone, I went back to TSA to see if my Alzheimer's had kicked in, and I really had put it in a basket and left it there. The TSA lost-and-found didn't have any new old phones, but one agent offered to put my bag through the screener again to see if they could locate it. A minute later, two agents were staring at a screen, looking at the contents of my bag. Another minute later, the agent brought my bag back and told me my phone was in the lower left corner next to my toiletries bag.

Thanks TSA!
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Re: Confused about TSA "Pre" status

Postby VictoriaF » Sun Dec 01, 2013 10:48 pm

Next time I need an X-Ray, I'll get a free one from TSA. Starting with the next flight, I'll use the conveyor belt as a treadmill.

Thanks, TSA!

Victoria
Last edited by VictoriaF on Sun Dec 01, 2013 10:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Confused about TSA "Pre" status

Postby frugaltype » Sun Dec 01, 2013 10:50 pm

john94549 wrote:They bonk you over the head, then charge you to stop. And you feel wonderful.


Or you feel annoyed with the whole ludicrous boondoggle.
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Re: Confused about TSA "Pre" status

Postby john94549 » Mon Dec 02, 2013 6:56 am

frugaltype wrote:
john94549 wrote:They bonk you over the head, then charge you to stop. And you feel wonderful.


Or you feel annoyed with the whole ludicrous boondoggle.


Inquiring minds want to know if I will be TSA "pre" on the way back to SFO from Maui. Stated another way, am I more, or less, of a risk flying in the opposite direction?
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Re: Confused about TSA "Pre" status

Postby alisa4804 » Tue Dec 03, 2013 1:41 am

Inquiring minds want to know if I will be TSA "pre" on the way back


Probably yes. Our sample size is very small, just 2 round trips, one United/personal travel and one Southwest/business travel, and came up as TSA precheck on all 4 flights. Good luck, but that doesn't help out your spouse in the slow lane. :(
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Re: Confused about TSA "Pre" status

Postby livesoft » Tue Dec 03, 2013 7:08 am

It's all about short-term opportunistic rebalancing due to a short-term change in one's asset allocation, uh, I mean opportunistic rebalancing, uh I mean rebalancing, uh I mean market timing.
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Re: Confused about TSA "Pre" status

Postby Barefootgirl » Tue Dec 03, 2013 7:51 am

It would seem to me that unless one pre-enrolls oneself in a program, TSA would be pre-vetting the traveller based on some unknown criteria...and of course, privacy invasion possibilities start creeping me out.


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Re: Confused about TSA "Pre" status

Postby Barefootgirl » Tue Dec 03, 2013 7:55 am

While in the "TSA pre" line the first time, I discreetly asked the person ahead of me "How did we get in this line?" and liked her response, "don't ask!"

I guess I am the opposite. While convenience is a great thing, I want to know, I want to ask.

I was in high school 30 years ago when they predicted some day this would happen.

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Re: Confused about TSA "Pre" status

Postby sscritic » Tue Dec 03, 2013 8:06 am

Barefootgirl wrote:It would seem to me that unless one pre-enrolls oneself in a program, TSA would be pre-vetting the traveller based on some unknown criteria...and of course, privacy invasion possibilities start creeping me out.

Agreed. I would hate for the TSA to know that I had flown before without blowing up the plane. Whether I blow up a plane or not is my business and not theirs. I feel violated. But it was nice to go through security so rapidly.
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Re: Confused about TSA "Pre" status

Postby Barefootgirl » Tue Dec 03, 2013 8:18 am

Since the option is for your convenience (and shortens the other lines as well), wouldn't you rather provide the data yourself, rather than having a government entity make a decision about your trustworthiness using what could possibly entail highly personal information?

I guess not.

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Re: Confused about TSA "Pre" status

Postby sscritic » Tue Dec 03, 2013 8:38 am

Barefootgirl wrote:Since the option is for your convenience (and shortens the other lines as well), wouldn't you rather provide the data yourself, rather than having a government entity make a decision about your trustworthiness using what could possibly entail highly personal information?

I gave them my name. It doesn't get much more personal than that. I don't know of any other sscritic, although there is this 85 year old in Wisconsin who keeps giving out ss.critic@gmail as his email address, and can't figure out that ss.critic@gmail and sscritic@gmail go to the same place. I know his dentist, his insurance company, his phone number, his address (that came off a bill he was sent), and so much more. All from a name. And I don't have spy satellites or supercomputers listening to his phone calls. On the other hand, I am not sure I would give Pre clearance to such a clueless person.
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Re: Confused about TSA "Pre" status

Postby Rich Cape Cod » Tue Dec 03, 2013 12:36 pm

My wife and I (twice a year flyers) were pre-approved our last flight from Boston to Tucson, a mystery to us both! The kicker was, my dear spouse (a perfectly harmless 70 year old lady) had THREE, yes, three small pocket knives secreted about her person and bags! They were a result of my buying a dozen dollar knives at a Tucson gun show last year and, being the caring husband that I am, giving a bunch of them to her.

Just can't trust anyone these days... :?
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Re: Confused about TSA "Pre" status

Postby astrohip » Tue Dec 03, 2013 2:17 pm

While I love Pre, the randomness is slightly frustrating. Wife and I flew a month ago, we both were Pre. Yay! We then flew one week later, I was Pre, she wasn't. UnYay! Then we flew this past week for TG, she was Pre and I wasn't. Double UnYay!

In some cases, Pre and regular security are right next to each other, so we can wait for the other. But in Atlanta, there are totally different lines and areas. We literally had to txt each other to locate and regroup.

I am also a member of CLEAR. Anyone else?

Outer Marker wrote:TSA has since eliminated the first avenue -- so you now need to do global entry to get into pre-check. (There are a few specialty exceptions like active duty military). If you do any significant amount of travel, the global entry fee is well worth it.

:confused Not sure what you're saying here, but there are LOTS of us who get Pre and are not Global Entry.
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Re: Confused about TSA "Pre" status

Postby travellight » Tue Dec 03, 2013 3:17 pm

I don't know how to ALWAYS be pre without global entry though. I have never been selected as pre. I think I will sign up for global entry; may be worth the $100 for 5 years.... although, if I did find a credit card to sign up for that will do it for me for free, BUT, I have to spend 10K within 3 months. Might be tough to do.
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Re: Confused about TSA "Pre" status

Postby Cherokee8215 » Wed Dec 04, 2013 12:56 am

My anecdotal observation from traveling on airlines extensively during the past month is that the TSA-chosen "surprise, you're pre-checked!" crowd consists mainly of age 65+ couples traveling together. I guess TSA figures they are low-risk. The only time I saw a younger man traveling alone in that line, they ended up giving him the full pat-down anyway.
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Re: Confused about TSA "Pre" status

Postby john94549 » Wed Dec 04, 2013 1:22 am

Cherokee, well, my wife and I are both 66 (she's actually a month older). I was "pre", she was not. I find the various experiences of Bogleheads quite amusing, might I say. Right up there with "I'm 'pre', aren't you?" The next status symbol.

I mean, anybody can have a net worth more than (fill in the blank). But "pre" status, my goodness. And obtaining such status for free, well, that's as good as it gets.
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Re: Confused about TSA "Pre" status

Postby VictoriaF » Wed Dec 04, 2013 8:23 am

astrohip wrote:While I love Pre, the randomness is slightly frustrating.


I think that randomness is an essential feature. Once you have a rule and stick to it, potential terrorists will figure out how to play that rule.

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Re: Confused about TSA "Pre" status

Postby sscritic » Wed Dec 04, 2013 9:18 am

My experience: I never got a Pre until after my divorce. That should solve the "she did, he didn't" problem.
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Re: Confused about TSA "Pre" status

Postby VictoriaF » Wed Dec 04, 2013 10:07 am

sscritic wrote:My experience: I never got a Pre until after my divorce. That should solve the "she did, he didn't" problem.


To make it statistically significant you should get married and divorced nine more times and fly ten times during each matrimonial stage.

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