TSA Just Made It Easier for More Families to Use PreCheck

A rule change means teenagers can now piggyback on their parent’s TSA PreCheck membership.

Teenager with yellow suitcase on people mover at airport

Kids under the age of 18 can now go through TSA PreCheck with their parents—previously, only kids 12 and younger could.

Photo by Shutterstock

Just ahead of the busy Memorial Day holiday weekend, during which daily U.S. air passenger numbers are expected to reach as high as 2.6 million, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced that a greater number of families can now get through airport security checkpoints with ease.

The agency stated this week that teenagers age 13 through 17 can now accompany their TSA PreCheck–enrolled parents or guardians through security when traveling on the same reservation. Previously, only children age 12 and under were included in their parent’s TSA PreCheck privileges (and they still are, of course).

“For the low-risk traveler who is traveling with their teenaged child, this change benefits families in an obvious way—but it also benefits the transportation security officers in the checkpoint. When TSA has more low-risk passengers entering the TSA PreCheck lanes, officers are able to focus greater attention on the higher-risk passengers in standard screening lanes,” a TSA spokesperson told AFAR.

TSA PreCheck is an expedited screening program designed to get travelers through airport security lines as quickly as possible—users can keep their shoes or light jackets on, can leave electronics and appropriately sized liquids in their bags, and are able to use a dedicated line. The program initially costs $78 (though many travel credit cards will reimburse users for the fee) for a five-year membership and $70 to renew.

According to the TSA, as long as an adult on the reservation books their ticket using their TSA PreCheck Known Traveler Number, the system will automatically recognize the children on the booking and a TSA PreCheck badge will be printed on their boarding pass as well. If, for some reason, it’s not, travelers will need to ask an airline agent for assistance.

The changes come as the TSA continues to modernize its checkpoints. The agency also recently deployed new Credential Authentication Technology (CAT) scanners that allow agents to screen travelers without scanning or looking at their boarding passes. Fliers at select airports in Arizona, Maryland, Colorado, and Georgia can also now upload their ID to their Apple Wallet, which can be used to get through TSA. More airports are slated to roll out Wallet ID capabilities soon, including Connecticut, Hawai‘i, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, and Utah.

Bailey Berg is a freelance travel writer and editor, who covers breaking news, trends, tips, transportation, sustainability, the outdoors, and more. She was formerly the associate travel news editor at Afar. Her work can also be found in the New York Times, the Washington Post, National Geographic, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, the Points Guy, Atlas Obscura, Vice, Thrillist, Men’s Journal, Architectural Digest, Forbes, Lonely Planet, and beyond.
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