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TSApre: Lesson from the Trenches

May 8, 2013

TSApre worked (and it does not suck)! TSApre failed (that does suck). TSApre kept on failing consistently for five months.

For the first few times (10?), everyone (including the TSA agents at Dulles) were convinced that I had been randomly selected again. After all, I have a Global Entry identity with a nice plastic card and everything. Then, last week the TSApre icon thingy was added to boarding passes regardless of whether you are selected for extra screening or not. None of my boarding passes had the icon! Uh oh. THis was obviously a system problem somewhere.

The new icon looks something like this. (Not sure who this guy Timothy D. Jester is, but he posted his boarding pass for us. Uh thanks Timothy. And sorry that you are on a waiting list for upgrade even with Global Services status. Typical.)

United app puts a TSApre icon on boarding passes now.

United app puts a TSApre icon on boarding passes now.

I thought the system failure was United’s fault since they had “changed my frequent flyer account to cohere with the TSApre database” and I was directed to “double check” all the data. I did everything I could to check through the website and even spent an hour on the phone with United last night.

This morning we discovered that the failure was my travel agent’s fault. They had my birthdate wrong in their system. Easy fix, and important too. Now the TSApre icon is on my boarding pass.

Moral of the story? Double check your birthdate entries if TSApre is failing for you. Apparently big brother cares when you were born.

FWIW, I made it through a very long (30 person) TSApre line in 6 minutes. Not bad.

One Response to “TSApre: Lesson from the Trenches”


  1. One of my Russian colleagues has the same name as a high-placed official in the Russian FSB. When he enters the US he gets…special…treatment. Date of birth is one of the key bits of evidence convincing the TSA that he’s not a former KGB, now FSB official.


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