I’ve had the opportunity to use the TSA PreCheck lanes in my recent travels, and so far my experience has been highly positive. The challenge with the standard security lanes is all of the coordination of taking your laptop out of the bag, shoes and jacket off, and removing you bag of liquids. It requires some planning as you approach the checkpoint, and then you have to reassemble all your belongings once you get to the other side. The advantage of the PreCheck lanes is that they clean up the whole process and make it quick and easy. The laptop doesn’t have to come out, shoes and jacket stay on, and the bag of liquids remains in the luggage. The only thing I have to do it make sure I don’t have any metal on me or in my pockets and it’s smooth sailing to the other side of the checkpoint and on to my flight.
One thing to note, though, is there’s no guarantee that you’ll always be approved to go through the PreCheck lanes. When your boarding pass is scanned at the checkpoint, you’ll be directed to the PreCheck lane if you’re approved. The TSA has emphasized that it has multiple, unpredictable security measures built into its processes, so you can’t count on getting access to the PreCheck lanes every time.
As of today, the program is available to eligible participants at the following airports:
The TSA is planning to expand the program to additional airports throughout 2012. A full list of those airport locations, as well as additional information about the program, is available here. According to the TSA, “Certain frequent flyers from Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and certain members of CBP’s Trusted Traveler programs, including Global Entry, SENTRI, and NEXUS who are U.S. citizens are eligible to participate.”
As noted in the list above, and as the TSA recently announced on its blog, the TSA has partnered with the Department of Defense to offer active duty service members in the U.S. Armed Forces flying out of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) access to the expedited screening as well. Additional information for active duty service members, including the necessary documentation they need to present at the checkpoint, is available from the TSA here.
Are you a member of the program? What do you think of it so far?