Sorry AJ, no TSA-Pre for you!

Err, I know the sense of entitlement this post evokes, but stay with me, and hear my story of le-sigh and disappointment. The title of this post the exact words I heard from the TSA this evening at JFK.

I am flying the American Airlines First Class in their 3-class Flagship Service First Class today, in fact this post is being written somewhere up in the air right now. This made me eligible to use the brand new Flagship Check-In service introduced by American Airlines earlier this month at Terminal 8, New York JFK. After a red carpet experience with American’s staff at JFK, the agent at the check-in counter hands me back my Indian passport and my boarding pass, and tells me that I’ll be able to use the TSA-Pre security queue specially organised for the Flagship Check-in passengers.

Now, I’ve read it in the past on American Airlines’ website, where they describe the Flagship Check-in experience:

An expedited security line, offering you premium access through security checkpoints

Now, this is something I assume standard fare for the elite and premium cabin travellers, and I expected this to be American’s “Priority Access” service & no more. However, American has a designated queue at the JFK airport for its Flagship check-in eligible passengers, and apparently all of them get TSA-Pre. Except me and a few of course!

When the agent told me I was going to get TSA Pre, I assumed that there was a special arrangement where all premium cabin passengers were going to get this service. In my 1.5 years of flying around in the USA as an alien, after the TSA Pre was announced, I did never get the 3-beeps and I assumed I knew it was because I was an alien for all purposes and hence…

Anyhow, I turn up and the TSA asks me for a USA identification, which I definitely don’t have except for my Starbucks card and my AA EXP card, so in spite of the 3 beeps, he politely tells me, “AJ, no Pre for you!”. But he was right.  Worst bit, there is no other Priority Security queue, so I wasted about 30 minutes to get to the scanners and go over, which left me with exactly about 15-20 minutes to pop into the lounge and get something to eat. And that, after a long day in NYC when I sparingly ate due to various reasons!

Hey TSA, I’d be happy to volunteer in the beta for a program which lets aliens come through the TSA checkpoints with some ease!

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  1. I am surprised to hear no other Priority Security line. My last time through there was a while back. There was a nonPre-check regular Priority security, but it was quite hard to find because of the absolutely huge lines in the regular security. We had to ask. As it was we barely made our flight.

  2. I’m confused, although you were not eligible for PreCheck, AA still has a Priority AAccess security lane at JFK, which you would have been entitled to use as a F passenger. Or was it closed when you were there?

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