Understanding TSA PreCheck

May 15, 2014 |

A new study by Harris Interactive found that the majority of American travelers don’t understand the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) PreCheck program. Results of the poll stated that 68 percent of passengers believe that lessening security procedures will lead officials to miss potential threats, and 56 percent don’t feel that some passengers should be treated differently from others, according to Forbes.

Travelers approved for PreCheck are not required to take off shoes, belts or light jackets while moving through security. They’re also permitted to leave computers and liquids in carry-on bags, unlike in regular security lines where passengers must remove these articles of clothing and take electronics and liquids out of bags.

Passengers who want to opt for PreCheck pay an upfront fee of $85 and go through a background check that includes submitting fingerprints and an in-person interview. Many of those who sign up for PreCheck are passengers going out for business travel. Upon receiving approval, travelers are move through security lines faster. There are currently more than 220,000 travelers enrolled in the program. The poll found that only two in 10 U.S. adults said they would pay the $85 fee to participate in PreCheck.

TSA officials at some airports are selecting passengers at random to move through PreCheck lines in order to help get travelers through at a faster rate, Forbes reported.

Logan International Airport opens PreCheck center
The TSA opened a new security center at Logan International Airport in Boston, the Boston Herald reported. Logan’s TSA PreCheck enrollment center is the No. 21 airport location of 250 that have opened since December. It is also the fifth center in Massachusetts.

There are already four PreCheck lines at Logan with participating carriers such as Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, US Airways, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, Air Canada and Alaska Airlines, the source reported.

“From a passenger perspective, it’s a huge convenience,” TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein told the Herald. “From a TSA perspective, it’s an enhancement of security because people who have enrolled … have voluntarily provided us with more personal information about themselves. It allows TSA to focus on greater attention on the passengers we know less about.”

TSA turns to business executives
Security officials are looking to executives in the tourism and travel industry to improve operations in the PreCheck program. According to Reuters, the Department of Homeland Security is creating six positions to create a “loaned executive” program to assist the TSA as well as Customs and Border Patrol with customer service.

Visiting executives will help analyze customer service, lines and crowd management, self-service technology, logistics and international passenger flow. The source stated that the mission of the new program is to help provide passengers with smoother air travel on the ground.

“I am thrilled DHS is collaborating with private sector businesses to attract talented professionals in the travel and tourism industry to help us continue our efforts of making America a more attractive and accessible destination,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said in a statement.