If I have TSA PreCheck (i.e. I have a KTN from TSA and the "pre-check" logo gets printed on my boarding pass) and a travel companion does not, can they go with me through the PreCheck security lines? This is assuming that the travel companion is booked in the same reservation on the same flights and is also a U.S. citizen and not on any no-fly or otherwise increased scrutiny lists.

I'm guessing the answer is no, but I haven't seen anything from TSA specifically addressing this.

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    I have occasionally been allowed through TSA PreCheck with others in party despite not having it myself, and occasionally not.
    – Owen
    Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 4:49
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    Every time I've flown (I have a KTN and use it), it's been a noticed thing that if the Pre-Check line is relatively empty, and the normal lines are starting to back up, TSA will start directing people to use Pre-Check. I can't tell you how many times I've heard under-the-breath and overt grumbling about "they're not Pre-Check" and "why did I pay for this?"
    – CGCampbell
    Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 11:19
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    @CGCampbell It appears that TSA has just gotten rid of that practice, so if you haven't paid for it, you won't be getting it anymore. - TSA Ends Precheck Free Rides
    – David K
    Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 12:46
  • @DavidK They may have gotten rid of the pseudo-random on-the-spot diversions to the PreCheck line (as their cited source from MCO said,) but I can confirm from personal experience that, as of today, they're still sometimes assigning it at check-in to some people who are not enrolled (as they've been doing since the beginning of PreCheck.)
    – reirab
    Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 13:46
  • I have PreCheck, and as recently as June, a couple friends on the same reservation as me were able to use it despite not having it themselves. Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 20:45

5 Answers 5


According to TSA.gov, the FAQ says no:

I’m traveling with my family; can they also use the TSA Pre✓® lane?

  • Family members ages 12 and under traveling with an eligible parent or guardian with a TSA Pre✓® indicator on their boarding pass can participate in expedited screening.
  • Family members 13 and older must go through standard security lanes or should apply for a DHS trusted traveler program.

I know your question isn't about family, but 'travel companions', but seeing as they don't even allow family members over 13 to join you on your KTN, it can safely be assumed by a reasonable person (and yes, I know we're talking TSA here, irony noted) that a non-family member would also not be eligible to travel under your KTN.

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    And apparently I completely overlooked this on their FAQ. Thanks for the find! In my case, the 'travel companion' actually is a family member (my sister,) I just tried to ask the question a bit more generally so that it would be useful to more than just me, but still narrow enough to answer.
    – reirab
    Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 4:02

My sister and I both have KTNs and recently traveled with a friend, booked together in one record. She doesn't have a KTN but received TSA pre-check on both legs of the journey. Two friends who booked independently did not. So it seems that there is a higher likelihood of the TSA pre going to some traveling on the same record as another KTN holder.

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    Yes, that's been my experience, as well. This question, however, was about the case where the Pre-Check logo isn't printed on the other person's boarding pass.
    – reirab
    Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 22:07

I have a KTN #. My wife does not and is not even a U.S. Citizen but always gets TSA Pre Check when traveling with me on Delta, American and United. Southwest is the exception whereas I get Pre Check but she has to go through regular line. So far, 100 % of the time this is the case. Even when she didn't have her permanent resident card, she still had TSA Pre Check. It makes no sense to me. I am not complaining, just confused why she gets cleared for TSA Pre.

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    TSA has a couple of 'managed inclusion' programs where people who don't have KTNs or Global Entry may be randomly selected to have the PreCheck logo printed on their boarding pass or randomly selected to go through the PreCheck line despite not having it on their boarding pass. I suspect this is how your wife is getting it, though it's weird that it's consistent which airlines it happens with (in my experience, it's been random on both Delta and Southwest.) However, this question was about cases where others traveling with me aren't selected for managed inclusion.
    – reirab
    Commented Aug 24, 2016 at 21:37
  • I have the exact same experience as @Dave.
    – woot
    Commented Apr 3, 2017 at 5:38
  • Airlines offer that as frequent flyer 'bonus'. The higher your ranking, the better the chance to get it.
    – Aganju
    Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 0:59

I have a Global Entry card, which allows for TSA Pre access, but only on UAL, not Frontier or Southwest. My wife has never applied but generally gets TSA Pre on her UAL boarding pass also when we book and fly together. Go figure.

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    Frontier does not participate in TSA Pre, but Southwest does. I've gotten it on SW many times. TSA lists all of the airlines that participate on this page. In short, Frontier and Spirit are the only two large U.S.-based airlines that don't participate. Even Allegiant does. Air Canada and WestJet also participate.
    – reirab
    Commented May 14, 2016 at 6:15
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    I have Global Entry, which also includes TSA PreCheck and I get it on Southwest. Commented Jan 28, 2017 at 2:45

Officially, Known Traveler Numbers (KTNs) belong to a person, so every traveler needs their own KTN so long as they are 13 or older.

Anecdotally, I have KTN and my partner does not. I have made three roundtrip flights over the last six months (domestic) and we both receive precheck on our tickets. As others have reported, some travelers have been admitted to the precheck line simply by asking nicely.

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