TSA’s Pre-Check program speeds airport screening

TSA’s Pre-Check program speeds airport screening

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You lug in your bags, print your boarding pass and get in line. For most, flying is a hurry up and wait situation, but if you're enrolled in the Transportation Security Administration's Pre-Check Program, you get to go in the fast pass lane.

"I don't take my shoes off, my laptop out of the bag. It definitely speeds things up," said program member Mark Chu.

Chu paid the $100 fee and has been a member for three months.

"I trust what the TSA is doing," said Chu.

 

There are several ways to sign up; you can be invited by an airline, if you're a frequent flier. You automatically get enrolled if you're a member of a trusted U.S. Customs and Border Protection Travel Program. The newest way, is to be selected at random, by the TSA.

"He just told me," said Varita Suitt. "He looked at my pass and marked it."

 

It's not getting bumped to first class, but Varita says she's one of the lucky ones.

"I've been picked before," added Varita. "I'm thrilled. It's a lot quicker and it takes the stress away."

 

Passengers already enrolled in trusted traveler programs have agreed to and successfully completed a criminal background check that, in part, deals with terrorism. Those selected at random, are not asked for any additional information.

Chu said, "I definitely think it's only fair that everyone go through the same process for security."

Even Varita says she can see how the random selection is causing some stressful security concerns.

"If there's some kind of problem with their criminal background check, then it needs to be known," said Varita.

For now though, if you get chosen to move to the lane with no line, all the airport needs to know is your name, gender and date of birth.

Pretty soon, there will be another way to experience Pre-Check. The TSA plans on opening an enrollment center in Austin. Passengers will apply online and then provide their fingerprints in person. If they pass a background check and pay $85, they will be enrolled in Pre-Check for five years.

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