Apparently You Can Use Any Boarding Pass to Get Through TSA – Including PreCheck

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Well, OK maybe the title is exaggerating a bit, but did you know that if you have a boarding pass for the following day, even one that’s no longer valid, you can get PreCheck and through security? Apparently, since I did it…by accident of course.

Due to the recent US Government shutdown, my meeting on Thursday afternoon in Orlando was canceled. That meant I could take an earlier flight home Thursday afternoon instead of Friday as originally planned. With my United Gold Premiere status, I can change flights within 24 hours for free, as long as the starting and ending cities are the same, and the same or lower fare class flights are available. Otherwise, I can still pay any difference in fare, but there is no fee.

I went online just inside the 24-hour window and changed my flight, checked in and printed my boarding pass, then headed for the airport. I returned the rental car, went to the PreCheck TSA security entrance and presented my ID and boarding pass to the woman and she allowed me to enter. At the checkpoint, the guy checked it out, scanned it and got the BEEP, BEEP, BEEP for PreCheck, signed it, then allowed me to enter.

After taking the tram to the terminal and hanging out at the United Lounge for a bit, I was ready to head for my plane. I pulled out my printed boarding pass and realized that it was the wrong one. It was my original for the flight the next day…the flight that I was no longer on since I had changed my flight and checked in already. Surprised, and worried that maybe I didn’t actually change my flight and would be stuck on a later plane, I went to the agent at the desk in the lounge. She was surprised as well, but quietly printed another pass for me, which worked fine for my flight.

I arrived home just fine, but it got me wondering why I was allowed into the secure terminal with an old boarding pass, not only for a flight I wasn’t actually ticketed for, but for the following day.

What’s your interesting TSA story?


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