This week, the Transportation Security Administration’s PreCheck program expanded to include 11 new domestic and foreign airlines.
With the inclusion of these airlines, the total number of airlines participating in the expedited security process has been brought to 30.
The PreCheck program allows passengers to pass through security checkpoints while wearing their shoes, belts, and light jackets without having to remove computers or liquids from their bags.
To qualify for the program, passengers must apply either in person at a TSA application center and undergo a background check, be a member of the military or a military academy, or be enrolled in one of the other trusted traveler programs.
Expanding the PreCheck program is a positive step in better protecting airlines from dangerous passengers by allowing low-risk passengers to move through security quickly and allowing TSA officers to focus their time on those passengers who represent a high or unknown risk.
By decreasing the number of passengers that must go through full security screening, TSA officers will be able to use their limited security resources more efficiently.
Increasing the number of airlines that participate in PreCheck will significantly increase the population that takes advantage of the program.
This should help reduce wait times at airports—an important benefit for travelers, especially given the long lines that many travelers experienced in spring and summer of 2016.
Importantly, the TSA has worked to reduce vulnerabilities in the program, such as the “managed inclusion” process, which has been ended. This process allowed random individuals to receive PreCheck privileges without being approved through the TSA process.
Managed inclusion raised security concerns, especially after a traveler with serious criminal convictions was given TSA PreCheck status through managed inclusion.
While this process was implemented due to the lack of participation in PreCheck at its start-up, the expansion of the program and increasing number of participants means managed inclusion is unnecessary, especially given its security issues.
More recently, the TSA has announced that frequent fliers, who often are given access to PreCheck lines, will be increasingly moved to traditional lines as participation in the program increases.
The expansion of TSA PreCheck to more airlines and thus more passengers is not only a smart way for the U.S. government to focus its limited resources on individuals of high or unknown risk, but it also allows approved passengers the opportunity to get through security more quickly and easily.
That’s something that all Americans can get behind.