Having just returned from vacation, the ordeal of navigating airport security is fresh on my mind. While we made it through in reasonable time, I know from past experience that it can take well over an hour. For many the wait may be over, as the Transportation Security Administration begins to roll out a program called “Precheck.”
How Precheck Works
Precheck is an expediting screening procedure for those that qualify. Your eligibility status is embedded into the barcode on your boarding pass. Once scanned, you are moved to an expedited security lane where you won’t have to remove your shoes or belt, take off your jacket, or remove your computer from your bag. In addition, these lanes are often much faster.
How To Enroll
The are several ways to participate in the Precheck program. First, frequent fliers of American Airlines and Delta may be invited by the airlines to join the program. Alaska Airlines, US Airways and United Airlines will be joining the program later this year.
If you are not a frequent flyer, you may be able to join Precheck by becoming a member of Customs and Border Protection’s Trusted Traveler programs, including Global Entry, SENTRI, and NEXUS. Unless you travel to either Canada or Mexico a lot, the Global Entry program is the one to use. You can get more information on the program at the TSA website.
Where is Precheck Available?
Precheck is not available at every airport. Currently, expedited security lanes can be found at the following airports:
American Airlines – Dallas/Fort Worth International Las Vegas’ McCarran International, John F. Kennedy International, Los Angeles International, Miami International and Minneapolis-St. Paul International airports.
Delta Air Lines – Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, LaGuardia Airport, Las Vegas’ McCarran, Minneapolis-St. Paul International and Salt Lake City International airports.
This year the program will expand to the following locations:
- Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI)
- Boston Logan International Airport (BOS)
- Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT)
- Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG)
- Denver International Airport (DEN)
- Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL)
- George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
- Honolulu International Airport (HNL)
- Indianapolis International Airport (IND)
- Lambert-St. Louis International Airport (STL)
- Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY)
- Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU)
- Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
- Orlando International Airport (MCO)
- Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)
- Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)
- Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT)
- Portland International Airport (PDX)
- San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
- Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
- Tampa International Airport (TPA)
- Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC)
- Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD)
If you’ve used Precheck, please leave a comment to let us know what you think.
Published or updated April 22, 2012.