Now that the Transportation Security Administration is trying mightily to convince more travelers to join its PreCheck program in order to cut down on overall waiting times at security checkpoints, that program is facing some new strains: Two more airlines will soon be participating in it, and a surge in PreCheck applications is slowing down processing.
The only two large U.S. airlines whose passengers cannot currently use PreCheck – even if they are members — are Spirit and Frontier. The reason is a problem with their operations software, which is unable to communicate passenger information to TSA.
But according to the travel industry news website Skift, those problems should be resolved within a matter of weeks, allowing the two carriers to fully participate in the expedited screening program and sending thousands of additional travelers into PreCheck lines. Skift said the two carriers could start PreCheck participation as soon as the end of July.
Meanwhile, the Associated Press is reporting that persons who apply for PreCheck membership (or Customs and Border Protection’s Global Entry, which includes PreCheck privileges) are facing long waits – not at the airport, but in getting their applications processed.
Both programs require a personal interview, and TSA is using an outside vendor to provide more than 300 locations nationwide for that purpose. But AP reported that at many enrollment centers located in big cities, appointment calendars are full up for the next month and a half – or in some cities, much longer.
The AP said that the number of PreCheck applicants has more than tripled over the past few months, rising to 16,000 a day in May.
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