The TSA’s PreCheck program considerably speeds up the security check process at the airport, and is worth looking into if you are a frequent traveler, perennially late for your flights or just flat out hate airport security lines.
Initially rolled out via the major airline frequent flyer membership rolls, the TSA is expanding the program to all eligible US citizens by way of their US Customs and Border Protection Trusted Traveler program. Here’s the link for that application process.
The PreCheck ( Pre√™) program, which allows select frequent flyers of participating airlines to receive expedited security arrangements, is currently available at 40 of the nations largest airports (click here for the list), and recently announced that number would expand by another 60. The TSA hopes to have 25% of all travelers registered in the program before year end.
Those who become PreCheck-ready will enjoy expedited screening through special lines, and will not have to remove the following items:
- their belts
- lightweight jackets and sweaters
- their laptops from their carry-on bag
- or the 3-1-1 compliant bags from carry-on luggage
The PreCheck program works loosely as follows; an $85 fee, completed application authorizing a background check and fingerprinting plus a few weeks to process the whole thing will buy you 5 years worth of expedited security processing. There’s a personal interview involved, conducted at one of the participating airports. Once approved, you’re given a ‘Known Traveler’ number, which then appears on all participating airline documents, including your boarding passes. Children under 12 accompanying a ‘Known Traveler’ are automatically eligible for the expedited services.
The reasoning behind the program is to direct TSA focus on the riskiest, and least-known travelers, diverting resources to properly screening those individuals.
So, for all us ‘average Joes’ out there, who knows; this could be the end of those shoeless, beltless hour-long waits stressing if you’ll make your flight. In my opinion, it’s a step in the right direction.