Print 13 comment(s) - last by Bagom.. on Sep 9 at 10:23 AM

Program reduces delays, hassle for business travelers, although TSA warns of "random and unpredictable" checks

The U.S. Transportation Safety Administration has drawn criticism for spending hundreds of millions of dollars to blanket the nation's airports in "nude" full-body scannersConventional searches of children and the elderly have also drawn criticism, but the TSA insists they're necessary amid concerns regarding the efficacy of the nude scanners.

But the TSA may finally have hit on an idea that frequent fliers can appreciate -- its Precheck program.  The program launched in late 2011 and has since become a major hit at the 40 time airports it's been rolled out at.

The TSA describes the program writing:

TSA Pre?™ is an expedited screening program that allows pre-approved airline travelers to leave on their shoes, light outerwear and belt, keep their laptop in its case and their 3-1-1 compliant liquids/gels bag in a carry-on in select screening lanes. To date, more than 15 million passengers have experienced TSA Pre?™ since it launched in October 2011.

TSA Precheck

Eligible fliers include:

U.S. citizens of frequent traveler programs invited by participating airlines. Additionally, U.S. citizens who are members of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Trusted Traveler program and Canadian citizens who are members of CBP’s NEXUS program qualify to participate.

This week the TSA announced it would be adding extra Precheck lanes at the existing 40 airports in the program, and be more than doubling the total coverage, rolling out the program to 60 more airports -- for a total coverage of 100 airports, or roughly a third of America's major international airports.

TSA Precheck members are flagged via special barcodes on the boarding passes, which tell the agent at the gate to direct them to a Precheck lane.

Precheck ticketsPrecheck passengers get special tickets. [Image Source: TSA/Delta]

The TSA may upset some in that it does plan to occasionally deny passengers Precheck rights, in order to try to prevent criminals from potentially abusing the system of trust.  The TSA warns that with increased use of the Precheck program it will incorporate "random and unpredictable security measures" at the gate and "no individual will be guaranteed expedited screening."

But overall the availability at more airports should mean less hassle from those who use America's airports the most, such as business travelers.

Source: TSA

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By abzillah on 9/6/2013 3:46:03 PM , Rating: 2
Don't want to wait at the TSA line and be groped?
Become wealthy!
The extra perk is that you will not have to be around poor people either!

By PaFromFL on 9/7/2013 8:54:58 AM , Rating: 2
So far, the costs to join the privileged class are not exorbitant, but that may change. Perhaps these special barcodes are the apocalyptic "mark of beast". At any rate, the two class system is nothing new in the USA. The wealthy and powerful can pretty much ignore any law that displeases them with no consequences (unless they make an enemy of someone even more rich and powerful).

By Bagom on 9/9/2013 10:23:36 AM , Rating: 2
I was lucky enough to have been part of DL test program for Pre-Check in ATL. I did not have to pay anything for this service and only once have been put into the normal security lines. I don't fly alot but enough for work to get into the program.

Well worth it if you fly internationally a lot
By Solandri on 9/6/2013 2:37:41 PM , Rating: 3
I got access to the Global Entry kiosks back when I signed up for Nexus while I was living in Washington and working in Canada. I got it so I could use the fast lane at the land border crossings, but the expedited clearance at airport customs and immigration was a freebie. Back then it was creepier - they scanned your iris. Now they only use your fingerprints. The application involves your residence and work history for the last x years (5 I think?), a background check, and an in-person interview with INS where you present your documents (passport, work visas, etc) and they explain the program to you. Aside from some locations being overbooked (do NOT do the interview at LAX - wait time is half a year), the process is pretty simple if you don't have a criminal record.

It typically cuts your wait time at the land border crossings from hours to 5-15 minutes. At the airport, when you arrive from an international flight you can skip the regular INS line (where they stamp your passport, usually 15-45 minutes) and head straight to the kiosks (which normally have no line). I'm one of the first ones through after a flight, even if I wasn't the first off the plane. And I always beat my luggage out prior to customs.

Global Entry is $100 for 5 years and gives you access to the airport kiosks. The INS official when I got it said it's also good for the fast lane when entering the U.S. from Mexico or Canada by land (but not the other way). $20/yr is chump change if you travel internationally frequently.

If you live near the Canada border, get Nexus instead. At $50 it's the cheapest and gives you everything Global Entry does, plus access to the fast lanes at the Canadian land border crossings.

The equivalent program with Mexico is Sentri, which costs $122.50. All it gets you over Global Entry is access to the fast lane when entering Mexico by land. (Basically, Sentri and Nexus are Global Entry + the equivalent or Mexican or Canadian immigration pre-check for entering those countries. There are similar programs for expedited entry into Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, and South Korea.)

All three qualify you for the airport Precheck program. The only caveat I would add is that once you get in, do not do anything which could get you in trouble with INS. When I was using Nexus, there were stories like people getting caught for not declaring the sliced tomatoes in their sandwich, and being banned from the program for life for this single transgression. They do not screw around at the border, and some of the INS folks can be jerks. I dunno if it's changed, but as of a few years ago there was no appeals process if you were banned for life. It's all or nothing.

By soccerballtux on 9/8/2013 2:13:51 AM , Rating: 2
why can't i just be 'merican and do that everywhere for all destinations????/

By kwrzesien on 9/6/2013 9:34:49 AM , Rating: 2
Espands? Expands?

What a joke
By Ahnilated on 9/6/13, Rating: -1
RE: What a joke
By Guspaz on 9/6/2013 11:45:50 AM , Rating: 2
How is a US government cabinet department a "private security firm"? Whatever your complaints about the security theatre, that doesn't make any sense.

RE: What a joke
By Ahnilated on 9/6/2013 1:04:12 PM , Rating: 2
You really need to find out about this country and then you can say if what I am saying makes sense. Corp US is not the original jurisdiction government that was setup for this country. If you don't believe me take a walk down to your local law library and do some research.

RE: What a joke
By stilltrying on 9/6/2013 2:51:58 PM , Rating: 2
go on Dunn and Bradstreet and you will find TSA is listed as a corporation. It may not be listed as TSA, may be dept of trans security authority or some other such name but it will be listed as a corporation, Guaranteed

RE: What a joke
By boeush on 9/6/2013 6:10:29 PM , Rating: 2
That doesn't necessarily make it a private firm. The original intent of corporate charters was to create public entities whose primary responsibility was rendering of public services. For instance, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (a.k.a. PBS). The TSA is that kind of a public Corporation, not to be confused with the other types (like S-Corp, C-Corp, etc.)

RE: What a joke
By bsd228 on 9/6/2013 1:20:51 PM , Rating: 2
uh, we haven't had rights at the airport in a long time. Try making a joke that vaguely involves the word bomb and see how your day goes.

RE: What a joke
By renosablast on 9/6/2013 5:25:28 PM , Rating: 2
And make sure that when you pick your friend Jack up at the airport, that you greet him with "Hello" instead of "Hi"!

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