Business travelers and the fast-approaching holiday airport crowd have a new opportunity to zip through security checkpoint lines with the expansion of the TSA PreCheck screening program. What was once an elite travel perk will soon be available to the general public — for a fee, of course.
For just $85 out of travelers’ vacation savings accounts, members can bypass standard TSA regulations, which provides the benefit of a less stressful travel experience overall.
TSA Regulations That You Can Pay to Avoid
Before the expansion was approved, TSA PreCheck was only available to customers who opted-in through their airline’s frequent flyer program, or those who signed up for CBP’s Global Entry, SENTRI or NEXUS Trusted Traveler programs, according to the TSA.
With security screening lines ranging from a 20 minute to one hour wait, getting cleared with a fast pass via the TSA PreCheck program is an enticing prospect for frequent travelers as the holiday travel season picks up.
A few TSA regulations prospective members can avoid with their PreCheck enrollment include:
- Taking off shoes, light outwear and belts
- Removing laptops from cases
- Removing 3-1-1 compliant bags from carry-on luggage
Members go through a separate screening line for a quick security run instead.
TSA Administrator John S. Pistole explained in an official statement, “This initiative will increase the number of U.S. citizens eligible to receive expedited screening, through TSA Pre??”™. [It] enables us to focus on the travelers we know the least about, adding efficiency and effectiveness to the screening process.”
How to Enroll in the TSA PreCheck Program
The TSA announced that enrollment into the TSA PreCheck screening option will be available to the public later this year. New members are required to pay the $85 membership fee which is good for five years. Additionally, members will be required to undergo a background check and keep their fingerprints in the program’s system.
Enrollment can be completed online or through an airport enrollment site. The first roll out of enrollment sites will include Washington Dulles International Airport and Indianapolis International Airport, with more on-location sites expected in the near future.
Currently, over 12 million TSA PreCheck users have taken advantage of the program at 40 airports across the country. The Huffington Post reports Pistole anticipates three million new members before year end.
(Photo: Grant Wickes)