Why did my boarding pass have a TSA pre-check mark on it?
You specifically asked why your boarding pass had a Pre-Check indication. The short answer is that the operating airline sent your itinerary (PNR) to the TSA before your flight, and the TSA sent it back with Pre-Check clearance for that flight. The TSA clears certain flights for certain people for Pre-Check because one of these happened:
- You enrolled in Pre-Check, paid an application fee, and were approved, and your TSA Known Traveler ID number (KTN) was entered into your PNR
- You enrolled in a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Trusted Traveler Program (TTP) such as Global Entry, NEXUS, or SENTRI, paid your application fee, submitted a detailed questionnaire, passed the background check, had an interview, and were approved, and your CBP TTP/KTN was entered into your PNR
- You were randomly selected by the TSA based on their own criteria
(There is also a TSA program called Managed Inclusion whereby when you get to the airport, even though your boarding pass does not say Pre-Check, the TSA randomly directs you to the Pre-Check lane, possibly because the regular lane was getting so backed up. But in that case, your boarding pass doesn't show Pre-Check, and you asked why your boarding pass did.)
I think the official TSA website gives quite some information. (TSA is the Transportation Security Administration)
Fro the FAQ on that same website
Q. What is TSA Pre✓™?
A. TSA Pre✓™ is one of several intelligence-driven, risk-based initiatives helping TSA move away from a one-size-fits-all model to provide the most effective security in the most efficient way. The use of risk-based initiatives will allow TSA to maintain its high security standards and improve the passenger experience while ensuring as many travelers as possible experience the benefit of expedited screening through the TSA Pre✓™ lanes.
In my understanding, it means that the American government trusts you more, which helps you to pass security quicker.
Also, there is always a notification on your boarding pass, which is what you found (from the same FAQ)
Q. How will I know that I have been cleared for TSA Pre✓™?
A. Travelers who have been cleared for TSA Pre✓™ will have information embedded in the barcode of their boarding pass. Once the boarding pass is scanned at the checkpoint, the passenger may be referred to a TSA Pre✓™ lane. Many participating airlines are printing a TSA Pre✓™ indicator directly on the boarding pass.