TSA "Precheck" program lessens airport security screenings for frequent fliers


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The Transportation Security Administration is currently testing a program called Precheck that allows select passengers to skip through some airport security screens.

Passengers who are enrolled as frequent fliers with either Delta or American Airlines and who have been deemed low security risks by the TSA are being invited to opt in. They are granted access to shorter VIP security lines where they are allowed to move through without having to take off shoes and belts or removing liquids and laptop computers from bags.

Those who have not yet been selected for Precheck may enroll in one of its sister programs administered by Customs Border Protection, like Global Entry. It has its own set of application requirements and costs $100 USD.

Fast-track programs are designed with a larger goal of security in mind. Less time spent investigating a low-risk passenger means more time to scrutinize those who present a potential threat. Nevertheless, random Precheck members will still be subjected to full screenings in order to guard against terrorists taking advantage of the perk.

Precheck is offered at nine airports in the United States--including JFK Airport in New York and LAX in Los Angeles--and will expand to 35 by year's end. This month, the program will come to Chicago O'Hare and Reagan National in Washington, DC.
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