TSA continues Pre-Check background screening
<![CDATA[The Transportation Security Administration is continuing to launch the program that allows frequent fliers to accelerate their trip through security. The program has gradually rolled out throughout 2012, with several airlines utilizing it. The Pre-Check program – recently implemented at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport – will give approved “trusted travelers” access to an expedited line, allowing them to skip some of the usual tasks that slow screenings — removing shoes, belts and jackets, and separating laptops and plastic bags filled with lip balm and liquids. To qualify for a program, travelers must accrue enough miles to earn frequent-flier membership, or they must obtain special federal background clearance through one of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s three trusted traveler programs. The programs charge fees — from $50 to around $122 — and applicants must pass an extensive background check, including an interview. TSA has no estimates on Pre-Check’s reduced wait times. However, customs’ studies show its trusted-traveler programs have reduced wait times for participants by an average of seven to 20 minutes. TSA can remove Pre-Check status at any time, and the agency conducts recurrent background checks. If the government labels a passenger a terrorist, the TSA will add that person’s name to the “no fly” list, and TSA will deny boarding to the person and he or she could face federal prosecution. If a passenger misbehaves or harasses agents, TSA also can add the person to a watch list, which requires more thorough security screening. Some critics have said the government is treating the average traveler as a “second-class citizen” because Pre-Check is available only to frequent fliers. However, TSA officials say it’s not about saving travelers’ time, it’s about using their resources more effectively. What do you think of the program? Would you be interested in participating?]]>
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