Keep Your Shoes On: TSA Expands the PreCheck Program

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Atlanta Airport security line, photo courtesy of hyku, via flickr.com cc

You can keep your shoes on! Or at least you may soon be able to. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recently announced plans to expand its PreCheck program. This initiative is designed to pre-screen low risk travelers who fly frequently and streamline their security process at the airport. As the program expands, it may shorten lines for everyone.

Passengers who qualify are allowed to remain in their shoes and light jackets through the screening process. And they are not required to remove laptops from their cases, nor to remove toiletries and other proper-sized liquids from their bags during the screening.

The program is already in operation in 40 airports, and the expansion will bring it to 100 airports across the country. It will also expand screening capacity at the 40 airports currently offering the program.

Eligible passengers (US citizens who are frequent flyers) are currently invited to apply by participating airlines. Carriers include Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways, and Virgin America.

The airlines embed the passenger’s PreCheck status in the barcode of their boarding pass. TSA officials scan it at the security checkpoint, and officers then direct these passengers to the expedited security line.

Later this year, the TSA will offer an online application process for the PreCheck program. Applicants will need to share their fingerprints as part of the process. The fee will be $85 and the clearance will be good for 5 years, though it can be suspended or revoked at any time if the passenger commits a crime or has any other security issues.

See the TSA website for details. And check back later this fall, when they plan to open the application process on their website.

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