Military personnel do so much for us. They defend our nation and keep us safe and free, while sometimes being stationed away from home and family for years at a time, all while potentially putting their lives on the line. No wonder why total strangers will come right up to them and thank them for their service.
Most people have seen that airlines show their respect for and thanks to military personnel by letting them be part of the first groups to board a plane. But the TSA also does their part to thank these brave men and women with a gesture that’s not nearly as well known.
All members of the U.S. Armed Forces, including cadets and midshipmen at the U.S. service academies, and those serving in the Reserves and National Guard, can automatically receive TSA Pre✓® benefits, for free, by using their 10-digit Department of Defense (DOD) identification number in place of where the Known Traveler Number would normally be placed on their airline reservation.
The perk has been made possible thanks to a little-known agreement between the DOD & TSA.
“Eligible DOD travelers have voluntarily provided information enabling TSA to make a risk-informed decision and allow access to the TSA Precheck lane,” says TSA Press Secretary Jenny Burke. “This information enables us to issue these travelers a Known Traveler Number (KTN).”
And DOD civilians have some good news – they’re also eligible to get free Pre-Check, but they don’t get it automatically. Instead, they have to manually opt-in in order to take advantage of the program. “Civilian employees must opt into the program using milConnect website at https://milconnect.dmdc.osd.mil/milconnect/,” as per a press release from late last year. “Their DOD ID number is also their KTN.”
Family members who are under the age of 12 are able to accompany the Armed Forces member or civilian worker through TSA PreCheck, regardless of whether or not they have it listed on their own boarding passes. However veterans, retirees and spouses are not covered under the agreement – essentially, the DOD can’t vouch for them in the same way they can for those currently employed by the department. However they, of course, can sign up for Pre-Check like any other U.S. resident (or as part of Global Entry if they’re not a U.S. resident and have a foreign passport from one of these countries), and pay $85 for a five-year clearance.
Eligible service members and DOD civilians can use their TSA Precheck status while on official business and for personal travel, and they don’t need to be in uniform to make use of the perk.
All in all, it’s definitely a nice way for the TSA to thank these brave, hard workers for their service and sacrifice.
Click here, and then click on “Expedited Screening Benefits” for more information from the TSA’s website.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary