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TSA may expand eligibility for PreCheck screenings

Currently, all participants in the Transportation Security Administration’s PreCheck expedited screening program at major airports are members of the frequent flyer programs of five airlines—Delta, United, American, US Airways and Alaska. But the TSA is looking at ways to expand that to other flyers as soon as next year.

TSA administrator John Pistole told Bloomberg Business Week in an interview that his agency expects to begin testing a plan in 2013 that would bring in a private company to start pre-screening possible new participants in PreCheck.

Those who opt for the private vendor checks would pay a fee, and if they are approved by that first investigation, their names would be submitted to TSA for a final review before they are admitted to the PreCheck program, Pistole told Bloomberg Business Week.

He said the program is expected to lead to a significant expansion of the base of participating travelers who could go through the expedited screening. PreCheck is now available at more than two dozen airports, and has processed more than 3 million travelers since it was introduced a year ago.

Participants who are selected for the expedited screening may not have to remove their shoes or take liquids or laptops out of their carry-on luggage, speeding up the process considerably.

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