No, not a sequel to the 2001 remake of the Ocean’s Eleven movie starring the ensemble cast of George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Andy García, and Julia Roberts. But it is a sequel to my last newsletter. Last issue, I re-posted about TSA PreCheck and Global Entry. I am very proud of the many of you, who have gotten the message and signed up for Global Entry. Kudos to you, savvy travelers!
However, there is one piece of information that has not been understood by many. TSA is our US based security. It does not automatically apply to foreign carriers. I have had clients complain about an airline because they didn’t get TSA PreCheck on an international flight. That is because an international carrier would have to go through all the TSA security requirements, which, as you can imagine, is not an easy process. So most of them have not done that.
Good News: In September Lufthansa, became the first European airline to offer PreCheck. Since that success, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is adding more foreign carriers to the list to offer the service. Members fly (pun intended) through security at more than 180 U.S. airports. No need to remove shoes, belts, light jackets, toiletries or laptops.
Just recently, 11 more airlines, including international carriers Emirates, Avianca, and Virgin Atlantic (the first U.K. carrier to join TSA PreCheck) along with Spirit and two smaller carriers serving Florida and the Caribbean, Aruba Airlines and Miami Air International. The others are Boutique Airlines, a small, San Francisco-based regional line; Southern Airways Express, which operates a fleet of commuter planes in the South and Mid-Atlantic states; Sunwing, a low-cost Canadian carrier; Key Lime Air, a Colorado charter company that flies to Wyoming under the name Denver Air Connection, and Xtra Airways, a Florida based charter company. Xtra flew many of the charter flights to Cuba before commercial flights were granted permission in late 2016.
Until recently, Etihad Airways had been the only foreign airline to offer this perk to passengers (All of us, on the October India trip, were very happy to have. In addition, we cleared US Customs, using our Global Entry, in Abu Dhabi. How cool is that!).
Other large international airlines are interested in joining the PreCheck club, but, the process is complicated: airlines must meet all TSA security requirements and upgrade their reservations systems to sync with the U.S. government’s Secure Flight prescreening system. It remains to be seen whether other heavyweights like British Airways and Japan Airlines will join in. Fortunately, most airlines in North America are compliant. Aeromexico, Air Canada, Alaska, Allegiant, American, Cape Air, Delta, Hawaiian, JetBlue, OneJet, Seaborne, Southwest, Sun Country, United, Virgin America, and WestJet are among the 30 airlines offering TSA PreCheck.