In the two months since the federal government launched a program letting fliers who provide background information to zip through special airport security checkpoints, more than 120,000 passengers have taken advantage of the program.
Fliers who participate in the Transportation Security Administration’s PreCheck program don’t have to remove shoes, belts or coats at designated airport checkpoints. So far, the TSA has invited only some frequent fliers with Delta and American airlines to participate in PreCheck at airports in Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit and Miami.
The number of passengers using PreCheck is expected to grow quickly because TSA Administrator John Pistole announced last week that first-class and other “elite” passengers on United and Continental airlines will be allowed to participate in the program next year.
United and Continental are set to merge by March to create the nation’s largest airline.
The program is also expected to expand to airports in Las Vegas, Minneapolis and Los Angeles early next year. The idea behind the program is to allow TSA agents to devote more resources to checking high-risk passengers and travelers the agency knows little about.
-- Hugo Martin
Photo: A TSA official displays how full-body scanners work at Los Angeles International Airport. Credit: Los Angeles Times