On September 1st the Lufthansa USA Twitter account announced that they had become the first European airline to participate in the TSA PreCheck program. This is fantastic news for travelers who have signed up with either the PreCheck or Global Entry programs!
If you’re not familiar with these programs, they are Trusted Traveler programs where you go for an interview at one of the designated stations (most major airports have them now) and if you are approved you’re given a Trusted Traveler number. You can then attach that number to your flight information and while there are no guarantees, you’re almost certain to receive PreCheck privileges on your flights.
What’s so great about PreCheck? It allows you to go through a separate security screening line at the airport. That line is usually shorter than the “regular” lines (though not always!) but you don’t have to remove liquids or electronics from your bag, take off your shoes and belt or your light jacket. You also go through the old-school metal detector instead of the nude-o-scope. The cost for PreCheck is $85 for five years.
But for just $15 more you can get Global Entry. With Global Entry you get all the benefits of PreCheck plus when you’re returning to the US from abroad you save time by being able to use kiosks to expedite your entry and once you have your luggage there’s a shorter lane through Customs.
Until now if you had a ticket issued by Lufthansa you weren’t able to take advantage of some of these benefits. When leaving the US you’d have to go through the “regular” security lines. And when returning to the US, if you had Global Entry you could use that to speed through Customs and Immigration but at that point you’ve typically left the airport’s secure area and must re-clear security, even if your luggage is checked all the way through. If the ticket was issued by a foreign carrier (as mine was on my return from Fiji) you did not get the PreCheck stamp on your boarding pass.
Adding your Trusted Traveler number to your Lufthansa reservation
Of the US airlines I’ve flown that participate in the Trusted Traveler program, all allowed you to edit your frequent flyer profile and enter the Trusted Traveler number there. That way it would be in the system for all future reservations. I did not see a way to do that on the Lufthansa website. Instead, I looked up my reservation and there I found a spot to enter this information, close to the section where I entered my passport data. I’m guessing they intend to keep that information in that location rather than moving it the Miles & More profile section because Miles & More services several other airlines and the others do not yet(?) participate in this program.
The timing of this development works out very well for me as I have a trip to Europe next month and my return flight will be on Lufthansa! I look forward to being able to use PreCheck when I come back to the US.