TSA Pre-Check….for all?

tsa precheck logoTSA Pre-Check was recently rolled out at my airport, and several other airports that I frequent. While American initially offered me membership a few years ago, I (stupidly) did not sign up. After learning some of the many ways you can get Pre-check without an invitation, I decided to apply for Global Entry. I’m in that process now, and will let you know how it goes once it’s complete.

This means that while I know that soon I will be eligible for Pre-check, for now I just look at that empty line longingly while I pull out my laptop and take off my shoes for the regular line. Normally. But last week something was a little different. After I showed my license and boarding pass to the TSO I got in line for the X-ray and body scanner, and started unzipping my purse to grab my laptop. I heard the TSO a few lines over say something about, “Don’t take off your shoes or take anything out of your bag,” but when I looked up to check it out, it seemed like she was talking to the kid in front of her. So I continue to pull out my laptop, and start searching for a bin. However, there were no bins. That’s when I realized no one in front of me had any bins on the table, and the line was moving oh so quickly. At this point, I actually looked at the sign in front of the machine. It was the Pre-check sign, and they were in front of all of lines.

Basically, what my airport did for one day last week was have TSA Pre-check for everyone. Man, it was awesome. The lines moved fast, and I didn’t have to worry about someone, I don’t know, taking for-freaking-ever to put coins and papers back in their pocket after the X-ray machine.

Now I am even more excited to get approved for Global Entry, and therefore TSA Pre-check. Readers, anyone seen this before?

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  1. The TSA did mention that they were opening pre-check for 25% of the general public. Maybe this was a test?

  2. So they sacrificed “security” (please notice the quotes) for a marketing initiative to make more money? That sounds like our government alright!

  3. Dulles has been piloting this for about 2 months now – occasionally during periods on the weekend. Folks are funneled from the East entrance to the right so they join the Pre-Check queue. Nice to see them starting this up at other airports as well.

  4. I applied for GLobal ENtry, got it, had to schedule an interview, paif $500 and as a side perk I get TSA Pre Check…..now just about anyone can get it just by virtue of being “lucky” one day or not go thru the more scrutinized background check – oh yeah, I feel much safer now….
    If they are going to open up PreCheck for everyone – they should charge for it. Otherwise the PreCheck lines will be longer and thus slower in the future.

  5. Honolulu (HNL) was sending about 1/4 regular passengers to the single Pre-check line when I was there in April. I might have been annoyed except the Pre-check line was very short anyway because it moves so much faster than the other lines.

  6. @MilesFromBlighty I didn’t see one way or the other. But I did see a couple get sent to the only line that wasn’t Pre-check, where they were still waiting by the time I was finished.

  7. Its been all over flyertalk for a while. Its annoying because TSO’s were not explaining what was going on until it was too late. Total cluster. Probably just trying to convince people to pay $85 for expanded Pre.

  8. See, I don’t see the point of these. What I see is a massive breakdown in security if they aren’t checking EVERYONE the same way.

    And I feel like a sucker as we have US-style airport security here (because we are allies, and apparently everything that happens there should be feared here), and if you aren’t getting fully screened I don’t see why I should.

    This reminds me: My name is on a watchlist in the US. Every time I fly there, I get pulled aside for the full bag check. I’ve got used to it, and assume it’s because my name is so common it’s like Jane Smith. Last time I was there, when I was pulled aside for the check, I commented how there’s really no point I know they are going to search me as I’m always searched and I would have to be an idiot to be carrying anything stupid when I’ve been searched every flight I’ve taken in the US/Canada since 2003. And the guy said “oh well why don’t you complain to the airline and get your name taken off the list?”

    (which also makes a lot of sense so now every terrorist will just ring up and get their names taken off the search list!)

    I just looked at him. Pointed this out and he just shrugged. Didn’t bother searching very thoroughly, either.

  9. I recently got my GOES, the interview appointment took 5 minutes. I used it for TSA Pre at McCarren airport on my last business trip and it was a breeze! It’s at more airports than the CLEAR program and it was so great not to take out liquids, laptop and remove shoes. Best investment for frequent travelers.

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