On my way back from New York to San Francisco last week, I was the ONLY traveler in the PreCheck line at JFK on a Monday morning at around 10 am. Granted, it’s not really rush hour, but still… it felt like a ghost town.
It was little more than nine months ago that the Transportation Security Administration announced that membership in its trusted traveler program — which entitles members to expedited screening procedures — had passed the 1 million mark. And now that membership number has doubled.
TSA said this week that PreCheck now has more than 2 million travelers enrolled. And member applications are continuing to increase.
The agency has also continued to expand the option to more U.S. airports. TSA said that during 2015, it added 48 more airports to the program, so it now offers a total of 450 special screening lanes at 167 U.S. airports.
Over the past year or so, the agency embarked on a huge expansion of enrollment centers for the PreCheck program, using an outside vendor called MorphoTrust, a subsidiary of the French identity firm Safran.
The firm has boosted the number of enrollment offices, which it calls IdentoGO Centers, to more than 355 locations nationwide. And even though that expansion has resulted in a doubling of PreCheck membership since last March, “IdentoGO Centers are now processing nearly 50 percent more applications every day, compared to earlier in 2015,” the company said.
Besides opening hundreds of new enrollment centers, the company has also started a mobile enrollment program for businesses and has used a partnership with H&R Block to create more retail options for walk-in sign-ups.
PreCheck membership costs $85 for five years. Expedited screening is also open to members of U.S. Customs and Border Protection trusted traveler programs like Global Entry.
A few months ago, TSA said that it had started to scale back on the practice of steering non-members of PreCheck into the PreCheck screening lanes in order to more equitably balance the loads on its inspectors.
Readers: Is it taking you longer to get through PreCheck lines recently? Overall, how would you rate your opinion of PreCheck these days?
Despite a lot of the bellyaching I hear, I’d still say it’s pretty excellent! I know there are plenty of folks who may not agree, but to me PreCheck is one of the best things to happen to air travel since the introduction of seatback TV 🙂
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