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Business Travel Travel Technology

New Identification Technology Being Tested At TSA Pre-Check Lines

Already knew that the perks from TSA Pre-Check were pretty sweet? Well it looks like they’re getting sweeter. Already being tested in a few airports, TSA has started using a new identification technology for Pre-Check travelers. They will no longer need to show a boarding pass at security. Instead, a photo ID will be all they need to pass through to their gate. 

TSA Pre-Check New Identification Technology

Their Credential Authentication Technology will verify authenticity of a passenger photo ID and validate information from the ID against TSA’s Secure Flight vetting system. With this system, boarding passes will only be needed once you board they plane. Reducing the hassle of finding the boarding pass, whether on paper or on a smartphone, is expected to decrease wait time through security.  And more importantly, this new technology will be used to detect and reduce the number of people who use fraudulent  identification to board a plane.

How it works:

Pre-Check travelers simply hand their photo ID to the TSA agent at the security checkpoint. The agent will scan the ID using the credential authentication technology system. From there is will verify the authenticity of the document and cross-reference against the Secure Flight database.

This system is currently being tested at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Dulles International Airport, O’Hare International Airport, and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. It will continue to expand to other airports in August.

What is TSA Pre-Check

TSA Pre-Check is a service provided by the Travel Security Administration. For an additional fee ($85 for a five year membership), travelers get to speed through security checkpoints at airports nationwide. Those interested apply online, submit to a background check, fingerprinting and in-person meeting with a TSA officer. Once they are approved, they can use the TSA Pre-Check security line. Additional perks include not removing laptops, shoes, belts, liquids or jackets through security.

I personally have been on the fence on deciding to pay for a Pre-Check membership or not. But seeing the TSA is continuing to innovate their processes is exciting. Who knows what additional perks they may bring within the next five years!

Read our additional blogs about TSA Pre-Check:

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Business Travel Travel Industry

TSA Precheck: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

TSA Pre?™ comes on the heels of other pre-approved security organizations similar to Global Entry, NEXUS, and SENTRI. For those not familiar with TSA Pre?™, here is a quick overview:

What is TSA PreCheck?

For an $85 fee, a background check, and an interview, you have access to faster moving lines, and quicker security screening. There is no removal of belts, shoes, and lightweight jackets. Liquids and laptops stay in your carry-on bag. TSA Pre?™ began its program in December of 2013. Six months later, many wonder, “Is it worth the money?”

How I used TSA PreCheck

I used to travel to Canada quite a bit and signed up for a NEXUS card, background check and interview included. This allowed me to expedite my way through customs in a separate line. Because of my NEXUS card, I was automatically enrolled in the TSA Pre?™ program.

In the beginning, I was ecstatic over the ease and speed of going through the security lines. It was like having status with the TSA just like I had with my airline priority status. But soon, airlines began issuing random TSA Pre?™ clearance to random passengers, which may have been nice for the traveler receiving this random service, but not for the rest of us.

I found myself stuck behind people who still took off their jackets and shoes, and took out their laptop, and liquids. TSA agents would advise travelers to put their items back into their bags, and put their jackets back on. The lines were often slower because of the double duties of unpacking and repacking personal belongings. A couple of times, people said, “Wow, you were randomly chosen for TSA Pre?™–aren’t you lucky?” When in reality, I wanted to say, “I made my own luck by paying for this service.”

So back to my original question: Is it worth it? My opinion is yes!

The good: Most of the time, the TSA Pre?™ lines are faster than the regular lines. I have shortened my overall travel time knowing I can leave later from my home since the TSA line will be shorter.

The bad: There are inexperienced travelers in the TSA Pre?™ lines. If I need to wait for an inexperienced traveler, I figure they will soon learn the ropes and either sign up for this service on their own or know what to do the next time they are randomly chosen.

The ugly: The upcoming summer season is when travel is at its peak. It will be interesting to see if TSA will keep the Pre?™ lines moving quickly or if they will be used as overflow for the additional travelers. Either way, I will simply allow extra time just in case lines are longer than usual, and keep my fingers crossed I have a speedy security check.

For more information on the TSA Precheck program, you can visit their website at TSA.gov.

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Travel Industry Travel News

Sequester Affects Business Travel

In a recent article by Skift.com, it was reported that the sequester is already affecting many airports and TSA lines, and in turn–business travelers.

If you’re unfamiliar with “sequestration,” The Huffington Post reported that “the sequester is a set of automatic spending cuts put into law by the Budget Control Act. Signed by President Barack Obama in August 2011, that legislation raised the debt ceiling and sought to apply pressure on Congress to come up with a longer term plan for deficit reduction.”

Due to these budget cuts, Homeland Security has been forced to cut some TSA positions and/or not fill any of the open positions. The result is longer airport security lines due to the lack of staffing. Business travelers should be prepared to arrive at their airports earlier than usual and to expect lines.