TSA Precheck Program Gains in Influence as More U.S. Airports Adopt the New Plan


Originally offered to frequent flyers and other elite passengers, the PreCheck program has now been opened up to over 40 percent of the traveling public in U.S. airports, according to the Transportation Security Administration. The organization predicts that most passengers will benefit from the use of expedited screening as TSA continues to expand these programs and implement new techniques.

The PreCheck program is designed for low-risk passengers to move through an airport’s security checkpoints while leaving on belts, light outerwear

and shoes, and keeping allowable liquids and laptops in designated carry-on bags. The goal, according to organizers, is to push people through security checkpoints in under five minutes. By speeding up this often tedious process, the PreCheck program doubles the hourly rate at which passengers can be processed and directed to their flight.

Now available in nearly 120 U.S. airports, the PreCheck program has been implemented in approximately 30 percent of TSA’s screening lanes. In early 2014, Air Canada signed on as the first international airline partner. Airlines in other parts of the world are expected to introduce the PreCheck program over the next two to three years.

In 2013, TSA allowed passengers to apply for participation pending a background check. As a way to address the increased cost involved, a small fee was assessed for inclusion in the program. Over 180,000 people have turned in applications for the program since its institution.

As the system has grown in popularity, more demographic groups have been brought into the field. Expedited lanes have given expanded access to military personnel. In April 2014, extended eligibility was granted to civilian employees of the Department of Defense. TSA is working in collaboration with several other Federal agencies and departments to incorporate new lower-risk populations into the PreCheck program.

TSA uses intelligence-based and real-time methods such as TSA PreCheck Risk Assessment and Managed Inclusion to help identify passengers who may be eligible for expedited screening. These passengers include flight attendants, airline pilots, and select adults (75 and over) and children (12 and under).

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