Jump the line with your KTN
Whether you're flying to the next state over or taking off on a dream trip to Bangkok, having a known traveler number can smooth the trip through the airport. A known traveler number, or KTN, is assigned to you if you apply for and are approved into the Transportation Security Administration's TSA Precheck program. It's the number airlines use to identify you as part of the program.
What if I'm not in the TSA Precheck program?
Even if you're not a TSA Precheck member, you might have a number that gets you access to TSA Precheck perks. Anyone who is approved for the Global Entry, NEXUS or SENTRI programs, which are used for international travel, is given a Customs and Border Patrol PASSID. Those programs include TSA Precheck benefits, so you can use a CBP PASSID as your known traveler number when flying out of the U.S. Provide this number when you book an airline reservation so the airline and TSA agents will know about your status.
How do I find my KTN?
If you've been approved for TSA Precheck or one of the CBP programs, you should have received your known traveler number in your approval paperwork. Anyone who applies for TSA Precheck must complete an in-person interview, and applicants who are approved usually receive a confirmation email within a few days including a KTN.
If you can't find the email containing your KTN, look it up online through the "Service Status" page of the TSA website. Enter some basic personal information, including your name and birth date, to gain access to your KTN.
What about my CBP PASSID?
If you're approved for Global Entry, NEXUS or SENTRI, the CBP should send you a membership card that includes a PASSID. The number usually begins with 98. You can also find your PASSID by logging onto the Global Online Enrollment System, a website run by the CBP.
Why do I need my KTN?
Your KTN is how airlines identify you as an approved member of TSA Precheck. You have to provide a valid KTN for your boarding pass to be printed with the indicator that shows you're eligible for expedited screening. With the TSA Precheck indicator on your boarding pass, you can join the shorter TSA Precheck line at security, keep your shoes and jacket on during screening and leave your laptop and liquids in your carry-on bag during the inspection process.
How do I use my KTN?
You must provide your airline with your KTN before your boarding pass is printed. You can't show your CBP membership card or any other form of proof at the security checkpoint; you'll only have access to TSA Precheck perks if your boarding pass is printed with the indicator.
Enter the number when you book your flight. Each airline has its own policies, but you'll usually see a field asking for a known traveler number on the screen that asks for your name and date of birth. You can also provide your KTN after you've booked your ticket by calling the airline or visiting an airport ticket desk or ticket kiosk.
Save time and hassle by adding your KTN to your frequent-flier profiles with the airlines you use often. Familiarize yourself with your airlines' policies around KTNs, because different carriers have different rules. For instance, United requires passengers to add their KTNs to their MileagePlus profiles at least seven days before a flight for its system to recognize the number as eligible. If you get a KTN five days before a United flight, add the number directly to your reservation, rather than assume that adding it to your MileagePlus account is sufficient. And you can always call your airline for specific help if necessary.