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TSA puts 3 million fliers through faster security lines

September 27, 2012|By Hugo Martin
  • The PreCheck program aims to let pre-screened, frequent travelers go through expedited security checkpoints to speed the screening process for everyone.
The PreCheck program aims to let pre-screened, frequent travelers go through… (Transportation Security…)

Over the last year, 3 million travelers have zipped through special airport security checkpoints without having to remove their shoes, belts, coats or unpack their laptop computers, according to federal officials.

They were participants in a program run by the Transportation Security Administration to let pre-screened, frequent travelers avoid long lines at security checkpoints at the nation's airports.

The program, called PreCheck, began in October 2011 and has expanded to 26 airports and five airlines: Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and US Airways.

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The latest expansion of the program was last week at Dulles International Airport outside Washington.

"We anticipate that TSA PreCheck will screen a total of about 5 million passengers by the end of 2012, a key milestone as TSA strives to implement a more risk-based approach to security," TSA Associate Administrator Doug Hofsass said in a statement.

But TSA officials have acknowledged that PreCheck has been used by only a fraction of the 1.8 million passengers who fly each day from more than 450 airports across the country.

In addition, TSA officials decline to discuss how the agency decides who gets approved to use the PreCheck security lines.

And even those passengers who have submitted background information to the TSA and approved for PreCheck can be subject to random questioning and searches before boarding a plane.

"TSA will always incorporate random and unpredictable security measures throughout the airport, and no individual is guaranteed expedited screening," the agency said.

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Follow Hugo Martin on Twitter at @hugomartin

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