Do you remember when you weren’t required to take off your shoes and jacket to go through airport security? Your laptop could stay in its sleeve and you could keep your toiletries with you in your carry on. Gone are those days. Or are they?
The Transportation and Safety Administration (TSA) has been testing a program they’re calling Pre-Check at seven major airports. During the testing phase, 310,000 passengers participated in the program and the response has been positive.
“Immediately after the attacks of 9/11, we simply did not have the information and analytic capability to identify travelers who posed the greatest potential risk and so we had to take a one-size-fits-all approach.” said Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, during a press conference at DC’s Reagan National Airport. By the way, we have direct routes to DC daily. “Our experience over the past several years has made us smarter about the evolving threats we face and how best to deal with them.” She referred to the Pre-Check program as “part of a fundamental shift in how we approach aviation security”.
In a test, ABC News sent one passenger through security the normal way and one through the Pre-Check line. The current security model moved the passenger through in 6:10. The Pre-Check passenger made it through security in 54 seconds.
To qualify for the new program, participants must submit to a pre-travel background screening. Once completed, a notation will be made in the passenger’s boarding pass barcode. After scanning the boarding pass, Pre-Check passengers will be directed to the appropriate line for expeditedsecurity checking.
The Pre-Check program is already being used by American Airlines’ frequent flyers at the Dallas, Miami, Las Vegas, Minneapolis and Los Angeles airports, and by Delta passengers in Atlanta, Detroit, Las Vegas and Minneapolis.
The 28 additional airports expected to be part of the Pre-Check program by 2012 include all three D.C. area airports, all three New York City airports, O’Hare, Boston Logan, Seattle-Tacoma, Phoenix, San Francisco, New Orleans, San Juan, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Portland (PDX), Tampa, Salt Lake City, Honolulu, San Juan, Anchorage, Orlando, St. Louis, Houston (IAH), Indianapolis, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Denver, Ft. Lauderdale and St. Louis (city listing: abcnews.go.com).