If your origin or destination airport is Denver International you have probably witnessed the TSA Pre✓® access point adjacent to the general security entry point. Usually the TSA Pre✓® line and overall wait-time is shorter. In addition you can watch with envy as your fellow travelers are NOT extracting their laptop computer from their carry-on’s, keeping their shoes laced up and not placing their liquids on the conveyor belt. The additional amenity being able to pass through a magnetometer versus the full-body scanners, which tries the patience of most travelers.
Some potential good news is on the horizon as the House of Representatives passed a bill allowing travelers to apply for the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) expedited security clearance program online, rather than visiting an enrollment center in person. Of note, the bill identified formally as the Transportation Security Administration Reform and Improvement Act must now pass the Senate as well.
The bill requests the TSA to develop and deploy a system that allows the general public to enroll into TSA Pre✓® online or at airport kiosks and tablets. There are additional provisions in the bill to in essence speed up security checks and processes for passengers within the program.
At present, two million plus people have enrolled in Precheck. The program initiated in 2011 was intended to speed up the security process at U.S. airports by allowing pre-screened travelers to keep on their shoes and light jackets on and to leave laptops and small liquids in their carry-ons while going through security. (Of note, I have been through the enrollment process; Denver has an enrollment center at the airport yet it was booked so far in advance I actually enrolled while on a business trip at New York’s Kennedy Airport which offers appointments and walk-in’s. My enrollment also allows for Global Entry, which is a true time-saver for those who travel internationally expediting the customs and immigration process upon return to the U.S.).
There are two caveats:
1) The Trusted Travelers Program in its current iteration requires applicants to submit in addition to security background information a set of fingerprints. While an application may be executed online one of the functions of the enrollment centers is the in-person interview and processing one’s fingerprints. Will be curious how the TSA may address this.
2) Members of airline frequent-flyer programs who have been granted complimentary access to TSA Pre✓® in the past will need to formally enroll in the program in order to use the fast check-in lines. This may be bothersome for those who have been granted Precheck access due to their frequent flier status and now must enroll to continue the privilege.
Yet overall a positive in this era of increased numbers of fliers and congestion at major hub airports.