TSA Pre-Check can be a life saver at the airport in some situations. But whenever you don’t know exactly what to expect or you run into an issue with it not showing up on your boarding pass, it can be a little bit frustrating. In this article, I will tell you everything you need to know about getting TSA Pre-Check with Southwest Airlines, including how to add it to your profile both before and after booking or check-in.
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What is TSA Pre-Check?
First, just in case you need a quick refresher on TSA Pre-Check, here it is.
TSA Pre-Check is a special program that allows you to get expedited access through airport security. Not only do you get to enter through a shorter line but you also can keep certain belongings with you as you pass through security.
These privileges include:
- Being able to keep your shoes on
- Keeping your liquids bag and electronics inside your carry-on bag
- Keeping your jacket and belt on
It might not seem like much, but it’s a great way to relieve stress and save time when making your way through the airport. It’s also very easy to enroll and you can get free credits for it with cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve. If you want to find out more about this program then read on here.
Getting TSA Pre-Check with Southwest
Since Southwest is a TSA Pre-Check partner airline (since 2013) you should be able to take advantage of TSA Pre-Check benefits on most of your Southwest flights.
The first thing that you want to do is to make sure that you have added your Known Traveler Number (KTN) to your frequent flyer profile. (This is the same number used for other trusted traveler programs, such as Global Entry, NEXUS, and SENTRI. However, for these latter programs, this number is known as your “PASSID.”)
It only takes a few seconds to add your KTN but you need to make sure that you do this is so that you can get TSA Pre-Check.
To add your KTN, sign in and click on My Account and then scroll to “My Preferences” to change your personal details within your profile information. You will see exactly where to enter your KTN. There will also be an area to enter a redress number but you probably don’t have or need one of those (more on that below).
How to add TSA Pre-Check after booking
If you have already booked your ticket you can still add your Known Traveler Number to your travel itinerary/existing reservation. This way, whenever you check in 24 hours prior to your flight you should be good to go as far as TSA Pre-Check is concerned.
To do this just log in to your account and locate your booking and you should be able to add your KTN to your current reservation. If you are not sure about how to do it then just call the Southwest Customer Service phone number: 1(800)435-9792.
Why did I get TSA Pre-Check on my boarding pass?
Sometimes, you might be issued TSA Pre-Check even though you are not a member of the program.
This is ostensibly done in order to entice you to join the program or perhaps to expedite security lines. This typically happens to older passengers although I think just about anybody can get it.
If this happens to you, consider yourself lucky although you do not have to go through the Pre-Check line.
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TSA Pre-Check not showing up
Just because you are a member of the TSA Pre-Check program, that does not mean that you will always be issued a boarding pass with TSA Pre-Check privileges. I’ve heard different estimates on how often you should expect it if you are a member but it has ranged anywhere from 95 to 98%.
The thing is, it’s also possible that sometimes your Known Traveler Number may disappear from your frequent flyer profile.
When this happens you might think that you just were not issued a boarding pass with Pre-Check but in reality you did not get it because your Known Traveler Number was removed from your profile or not transferred. This has happened to me on a couple of occasions with Southwest unfortunately.
The solution to this is to always check with the check-in desk if you do not see TSA Pre-Check on your boarding pass. If your Known Traveler Number is still in your frequent flyer profile and you do not see TSA Pre-Check on your boarding pass, then you know that you just were not selected for this go-round.
And if for some reason your Known Traveler Number is not in your frequent flyer profile, the agent should be able to add that to your profile and reprint you a boarding pass.
Many times this appears to happen whenever your name does not match exactly with TSA Pre-Check. For example, you may have used a middle initial and then used your full middle name in another scenario. Or you might be like me and have multiple middle names which confuses everybody.
You can also call Southwest if you want them to look into this matter at: 1-855-234-4654 (Customer Relations Department).
Do I need a redress number for Southwest?
You may have seen an area where you can enter in a redress number and you may have wondered what it is.
A redress number is basically a special case number that you get that helps you avoid extra security measures at the airport.
For example, if you are always getting issued a boarding pass with SSSS, you might need a redress number.
Once you are issued a redress number it should help the government view you as a nonthreatening passenger and should help you avoid heightened security measures. It doesn’t always work but many times it can be a great way to avoid the headache of enhanced security. To find out more about a redress number click here.
Getting TSA Pre-Check with Southwest Airlines should normally be a pretty straightforward process. Every now and again you might run into a hiccup in the process but the key is to just monitor your boarding pass and always verify with check-in agents whether or not your Known Traveler Number can be found in your frequent flyer profile/reservation.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.