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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