The TSA PreCheck program being piloted by The Transportation Security Administration is expanding and will allow some passengers to go through pre-screening then make it through security checkpoints faster at many more airports in 2012. The exact benefits of the program, however, are difficult to define.
“We are pleased to expand this important effort, in collaboration with our airline and airport partners, as we move away from a one-size-fits-all approach to a more intelligence-driven, risk-based transportation security system,” TSA Administrator John S. Pistole told the Los Angeles Times saying the PreCheck program and a similar effort for international travelers, called Global Entry, will help make the TSA screening process more efficient.
Designed to help TSA focus resources on higher-risk and unknown passengers while expediting the process for lower-risk and known passengers whenever possible, more than 336,000 passengers been screened to date through TSA PreCheck lanes.
Some passengers could qualify for expedited screening through U.S. airport security checkpoints via designated screening lanes. The TSA doesn’t say exactly how the screening differs, citing security reasons but potential benefits may include keeping shoes, belts and light jackets on and keeping a 3-1-1 compliant bag in carry-on luggage. The TSA is quick to point out though that “at no point, however, is this program an entitlement. Passengers are always subject to random, unpredictable screening measures,” on their web site.
Not everyone is eligible for the PreCheck program though. It applies only to members of airline frequent-flier programs who also must first apply with the TSA. If approved, they get a boarding pass with a special barcode signaling TSA workers to let them go through the fast lane.
TSA PreCheck is currently operating with American Airlines at airports in Dallas, Miami, Las Vegas, Minneapolis and Los Angeles, and with Delta Air Lines at airports in Atlanta, Detroit, Las Vegas and Minneapolis. Later this year, US Airways, United Airlines and Alaska Airlines will begin operations.
TSA PreCheck is scheduled to be implemented at the following airports this year:
- Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI)
- Boston Logan International Airport (BOS)
- Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT)
- Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG)
- Denver International Airport (DEN)
- Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL)
- George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
- Honolulu International Airport (HNL)
- Indianapolis International Airport (IND)
- John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
- LaGuardia Airport (LGA)
- Lambert-St. Louis International Airport (STL)
- Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY)
- Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU)
- Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
- O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
- Orlando International Airport (MCO)
- Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)
- Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)
- Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT)
- Portland International Airport (PDX)
- Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA)
- Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC)
- San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
- Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
- Tampa International Airport (TPA)
- Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) and
- Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD).
Flickr photo by Inha Leex Hale
Graphic via TSA