By now every frequent traveler has heard about the TSA’s innovative and very popular PreCheck trusted traveler program.
In a nutshell, PreCheck offers certain high mileage frequent flyers access to special, faster lanes at airport security that do not require them to remove their shoes, belts or coats, or take their laptops out of their bags for screening. (When I was chosen to pass through a PreCheck line last summer in Atlanta, the process reminded me of pre-9/11 security… a breeze. I was through in less than a minute and walked away with a big smile on my face.)
The introduction of the speedy new PreCheck lanes has been one of the best things the TSA has ever done for frequent travelers. It has been a roaring success in terms of passenger satisfaction as well as PR for the frequently maligned agency. To date, 3 million travelers have passed through PreCheck lanes at 26 airports across the country– the most recent addition is United’s hub at Washington-Dulles. It’s also at United hubs in Newark (C3), Houston and Chicago. Even LAX has it!
There’s only one problem: Not a single Bay Area airport has PreCheck yet.
Why not? Well, it’s been tough for me to get a good answer from the airport or the TSA… and I’ve been asking and asking ever since the program rolled out last year. I’ve been hearing from BAT readers, too wondering why we don’t have it at a major hub airport like SFO or even OAK or SJC.
Last week I got a hopeful response from SFO spokesperson Mike McCarron: “It is ultimately up to the airlines to work out the arrangement with the TSA. From what we understand, PreCheck should start showing up with United and Delta about mid-November.” All the TSA will say is that it “will be in 35 airports by the end of 2012.”
Virgin America spokesperson Abby Lunardini told The BAT, “We’re in discussions with TSA and are supportive of program and hope we can offer to Virgin America’s T2 guests in the near future — but there is no definitive roll out date yet.”
So there you have it…. I guess we’ll just have to sit back and wait our turn. Stay tuned to The BAT for updates and a big announcement when PreCheck finally arrives– hopefully this November.
Have you enjoyed PreCheck at other airports? Have you used CLEAR lanes at SFO yet? Are you finding airport security a bit more manageable now that the summer crowds have gone home? Please leave your comments below.
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