Washington, D.C. -
The Transportation Security Administration, TSA, has announced that it has pre-screened 1 million passengers since the launch of its PreCheck program in October of 2011. The PreCheck program is only open to a select small number of travelers who are traveling on American, Delta and Alaska flights.
In acknowledging that 1 million may seem large but is small when compared to the estimated 335 million overall passengers that have traveled in the same period, Chris McLaughlin, assistant administrator for security operations at TSA said, "In the context, 1 million is a very, very small number."
The PreCheck program is operated at 14 US airports for passengers of American, Delta and Alaska but will be increased to 21 airports by years end and include other airlines like United, US Airways, JetBlue, Virgin American and Southwest. The TSA plans to have 35 airports overall in the PreCheck program.
Airlines select passengers from their frequent flyer programs, at first only the most frequent of fliers but eventually most all who are enrolled in frequent flyer programs will be offered to apply to enroll in the program. Once invited, passengers are asked to give more personal information about themselves. As a result, their boarding passes will be embedded with a code that TSA security checkpoint screeners will see and allow the passenger to go through an expedited lane where they will not have to take off their shoes, belts and jackets, or pull out laptop computer.
According to the TSA, 90% of the nations domestic traffic originated and ends at one of the 35 airports it said it will make PreCheck ready.
The TSA has been under significant pressure and criticism by the traveling public, congress and consumer rights groups for a process often described as inefficient, ineffective, bloated with red tape, overly expensive, slow to respond, and unresponsive to the public.
Numerous security experts have labeled the TSA screening process as retarded, illogical and an unnecessary intrusion into passenger's privacy.
The TSA has contended that it is doing the best it can to keep passengers demands in mind while still balancing the overall security needs of the traveling public, and that it has implemented numerous programs designed to help it find "threats".