Today, American Airlines sent a warning to its AAdvantage frequent flyer club members: You've been downgraded.
Said the airline, "The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is making changes to the TSA Pre? Trusted Traveler Program that will impact which travelers receive expedited screening. If you're not already a member of one of the Trusted Traveler programs like Global Entry or the TSA Pre? Application Program, you will probably see a decline in how often you receive expedited screening, even if you've previously "opted-in" through a frequent flyer program."
That means that just because you hold an elite status with an airline, you may not automatically be granted access to the faster screening process at the 133 United States airports at which it operates. Now, to be promised access to the line, you have to register with the government.
In the first days of the TSA Pre program, the TSA worked with airlines to grant high-status passengers access to the lanes. Although some felt it was unfair to grant big spenders easier access to faster security, it was a way both to test the new system and to get the word out about the benefits of using the TSA Pre lane, which include not having to remove shoes from feet or laptops from bags.
Now that the TSA has attracted more than 1 million Americans to go through voluntary background checks and interviews to join the TSA Pre and Global Entry programs, it's tightening who will be granted automatic access to the line. Before the fast lanes get so crowded that they become the slow lanes too, they're cutting frequent flyers loose.
Now, if you want to get into the TSA Pre-Check lanes, you've got to sign up and go through the program requirements like everyone else (which you can do via this link). Otherwise, there's no guarantee you'll get the perk anymore.