That old adage about "there's no such thing as a free lunch" applies to yet another airport operation: namely, that the salad days of getting TSA PreCheck without paying are over.
Soon enough, nobody will be randomly selected to breeze through airport security without taking off a jacket or untying a shoe lace. And that goes for frequent flyers whose airlines give them PreCheck at airport, too.
“As more and more travelers obtain KTNs, soon, travelers without a Known Traveler Number, or KTN, including those who previously 'opted-in' via a frequent flyer program, will notice a reduction in the frequency in which they are chosen for TSA Pre✓®,” a recent TSA blog post announced. In layman's terms: PreCheck is for paying customers only.
For travelers without a KTN who want to skip long security lines for the next five years, you can do that by enrolling in PreCheck for $85 (you can learn all about how to get it here), or in the three other Department of Homeland Security programs that come with PreCheck: Global Entry, Nexus, and Sentri. While 3.6 million people are currently enrolled in those programs, at present, 1 million are enrolled in PreCheck alone.