Zipping through airport security without taking off your shoes will no longer be a thing of the past—nor a luxury for a certain few passengers.
Now that the TSA is adding PreCheck to 60 more airports, the agency’s goal is have 25 percent of all domestic air travelers eligible for expedited screening.
These passengers are deemed low security risks from the TSA, and are chosen after a background check based on the information submitted to airline when booking a flight. They don’t have to be enrolled in PreCheck, Global Entry or frequent flier programs.
While the passengers will still pass through metal detectors and luggage through X-ray scanners, they’ll keep their shoes, belts and light jackets on while keeping their laptops and liquids in their bags and avoiding the full-body scanner.
The program doesn’t guarantee easy screening, and those who apply for it will still have to dole out more personal information and submit to an interview. But, it’s a wide step from 2011, when the initial program was exclusive to high-status, high-revenue travelers hand-picked by airlines.
The TSA plans to have the expanded program in place by early October. More than 15 million passengers have experienced PreCheck’s streamlined scanning since the program began. Currently, participating airlines include Alaska, American, Delta, Hawaiian, United, US Airways and Virgin America, and JetBlue and Southwest are expected to join the program soon.
And for frequent international travelers, take advantage of Global Entry. The revered U.S. Customs and Border Protection “trusted traveler” program gives passengers a quick-pass re-entry into the country. Bonus: Global Entry members are automatically enrolled in PreCheck.
Global Entry enrollment costs $100 for a five-year membership and requires a personal interview, fingerprinting and background check.