Pre screening allows frequent flyers to bypass some security measures

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wwltv.com

Posted on December 18, 2013 at 6:22 PM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 18 at 9:22 PM

Thanh Truong / Eyewitness News
Email: ttruong@wwltv.com | Twitter: @thanh412

NEW ORLEANS -- Before Mac MacIntosh flew into New Orleans from Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, he was more than happy to be diverted to TSA's PreCheck lanes at Hartsfield.

The expedited screening process in that lane allowed him to keep his shoes and belt on as he walked through the metal detector. Pre-approved electronics and liquids could also stay stored in his luggage.

When he was leaving New Orleans, MacIntosh found himself again in the PreCheck lane.

"I really appreciate that I don't have to completely undress and then re-dress after I come to other side," he said.

TSA's PreCheck program was introduced in 2011. It was a soft launch, with only a few major hubs featuring the program. At the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, PreCheck expedited screening started in October.

According to Sari Koshetz, more than 30 million people have experienced the PreCheck treatment at airport screening.

"So people really zip through," said Koshetz, a spokesperson for the Transportation Security Administration.

The PreCheck program is offered through most major airlines and their frequent flier programs. Koshetz said qualifying travelers who are invited into the program by their airlines must first opt in.

Other people eligible include U.S. Armed Forces with a Common Access Card and members of existing Customs and Border Protection Trusted Traveler programs.

But "average" flyers can also enjoy the speedier screening, on a flight by flight basis.

"The way that is happening is that TSA, because we screen everybody before they get to the checkpoint anyway, has taken a certain number of passengers every day and on a flight by flight basis, giving them the opportunity to go through expedited screening," said Koshetz.

Koshets said the TSA's PreCheck program is an attempt to step away from a "one size fits" all approach to airport security. She adds by allowing travelers who are considered to be "trusted' to go through expedited security, TSA can focus more closely on the lesser known flyers.

Greg Henkhaus, a passenger from Portland, OR, said he enjoys the ease of the TSA's PreCheck process, but he does have concerns.

"It was great. We moved through fast, but, it's always kind of scary. Does it work well? Who knows?" said Henkhaus.

The screening process is one of the most critical aspects of airport security. Now it can be executed in some cases with your shoes on.

For more information about TSA's PreCheck program, contact your airline to see if you qualify. You can also visit TSA's information page

 

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