A sign promotes the TSA PreCheck program at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey. The program has expanded to 26 airports in its first year. (Gannett News Service)
More fliers will soon find relief from the hassles at airport security lines.
The Transportation Security Administration’s precheck program that lets passengers keep their shoes and belts on through security has expanded to 26 airports in its first year and will continue to grow.
Since it was launched in October 2011, 2.7 million passengers have been screened though a dedicated precheck security lane, said TSA spokesman David Castelveter.
TSA expects 35 airports to have precheck by the end of 2012. Most recently, it has expanded to Newark’s Liberty International and Philadelphia International airports. Next week, Washington-Dulles International will open a precheck security checkpoint.
U.S. citizens traveling domestically who are select Alaska, American, Delta, United, and US Airways frequent fliers or members of the Customs and Border Protection Trusted Traveler program are eligible.
“Clearly we expect to broaden the array of carriers involved with the program,” Castelveter says.
The free program can reduce delays in security lines. Precheck passengers don’t have to remove clothing and can keep their laptops and liquids in their carry-ons.
Participating airlines would not disclose how many fliers enrolled but say the program has gained traction.
United said week that it would offer precheck at two more hubs, Newark and Dulles, for a total of five. “We’re excited that it’s now reaching critical mass,” says Alex Marren, senior vice president of network operations and United Express for United. “Everyone has recognized that the security screening process has become time-consuming and comes across as a pain point for our customers.”
Marren says precheck fliers get through security 2½ times faster.
Nancy Lowe, a frequent business traveler from Seattle, was invited by Alaska Airlines to become a precheck member. She says, “It brings me back to the good old days of flying.”
Nancy Trejos reports for USA Today.