For $85 and a little bit of legwork, TSA PreCheck lets you skip the airport security line on domestic flights. It’s a nice service for frequent travelers wanting to save time, and a privilege, you’d think, worth paying for.
There’s just one problem: TSA sometimes lets regular travelers who haven’t purchased TSA PreCheck use the PreCheck lane. Understandably, that doesn’t go over well with valid PreCheck passengers, especially when said unenrolled travelers don’t understand they don’t need to remove their shoes or take anything out of their bags, and therefore hold up the line. But Congress might be about to put a stop to the practice.
Non-PreCheck travelers haven’t paid the $85, and haven’t provided fingerprints or visited a PreCheck enrollment center. As Forbes points out, the program, called Managed Inclusion, “officially allowed low-risk passengers access to the lane. As a result, expedited screening lanes were often congested with passengers unfamiliar with procedure, slowing down the overall flow of the checkpoint.”
Managed Inclusion was supposed to end in 2015, but some outside passengers are still given access to expedited screening.
Can Congress Fix PreCheck?
Congress may now be poised to step in via the awkwardly named PreCheck Is PreCheck Act, which “directs the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to ensure that only travelers who are members of a trusted traveler program are permitted to use TSA PreCheck security screening lanes at TSA checkpoints.” The legislation does make exceptions for travelers under 12 or over 75 who are traveling with a PreCheck member, allowing them to use PreCheck lanes regardless of status. The House passed the law, and it now awaits consideration in the Senate.
Interestingly, the act also states that “the TSA shall implement a risk modified screening protocol for lanes other than designated TSA PreCheck security screening lanes at TSA checkpoints to further segment passengers based on risk. Only low-risk passengers shall be eligible to undergo risk modified screening at TSA checkpoints.”
This seems to direct or allow TSA to develop an alternate approach to divert “low-risk” travelers from the main security line that’s not through PreCheck. That alone would be a benefit to ordinary travelers, so hopefully it comes to pass.
Readers, are you enrolled in PreCheck or its international counterpart, Global Entry?