Categories
Business Travel Travel Industry

Are Travelers Dissatisfied with TSA PreCheck?

Don’t you hate it when your reliable shortcut home becomes mainstream? Or when the coffee shop is always out of your favorite muffin due to high demand? It always ruffles some feathers when previously hidden gems become commonplace. Unfortunately, this may be happening with TSA PreCheck. In a recent article by USAToday, a number of travelers complain that TSA PreCheck is not all that it’s cracked up to be. They claim to watch travelers speed through traditional security lines, while they stand by in their PreCheck lines. In a service that’s main objective is to expedite security lines, what’s really happening here?

What is TSA PreCheck

This premium service provided by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) allows travelers to simply walk through security lines; without removing shoes, computers, light jackets, or even pausing for additional screening. It requires a formal application, fee, in-person interview, and background check conducted by the FBI to be included in the program. Once the traveler has been approved, they are free to use the TSA PreCheck lines at security gates.

What’s happening?

In a recent survey of 2,500 North American travelers, 45% of fliers already enrolled in TSA PreCheck thought that the wait times were too long and the price was too high to be worth the membership. The same survey found this grievance was even higher among business travelers at 57%.

TSA rebutted with data, showing nationwide average wait times as five minutes, compared to less than 10 minutes for travelers in standard lines. Additionally, though the number of travelers signing up for TSA PreCheck is significantly lower than expected, it is continually growing. The program doubled from 2.3 million in March 2016 to 4.6 million in 2017.

What could be the potential issues?

If TSA PreCheck designed to speed fliers through security, what could be causing these unexpected inconveniences? There seems to be two main issues of contention here.

  1. Randomness arrival of travelers to the airport. There is no way of knowing when travelers will arrive and start through security for their day of travel.
  2. Continually providing free TSA Pre-Check status to other fliers. Though TSA announced earlier this year that they have begun limiting access to these expedited security lanes, most frequent travelers aren’t see the change. Overall, travelers are questioning why there are not more TSA employees stationed at these TSA Pre-Check lines.

Is TSA Pre-Check worth it?

It seems to depend on your expectations. For a one-time fee of $85 for five years, it truly depends on how often you travel and the price tag. Most travel experts say that if you travel more than twice a year, it’s worth being part of the program. Though it may be slightly delayed at times, PreCheck lines still average in the single digits for security wait times. New identification technology is   being tested at some airports. This is expected to decrease security wait times in the future. If cost is still the hurdle for you, keep an eye open for occasional deals or incentives. For example, some credit cards with annual fees will reimburse the cost. Have more to say? Leave us a comment on Facebook.

Categories
Travel Industry Travel News

TSA Precheck Lines Getting Longer?

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced an initiative to enroll twenty-five million new travelers in their Trusted Traveler programs by 2019. Such programs include TSA Precheck and Global Entry.
—To accomplish this goal, TSA is getting creative. Last year, they opened Precheck enrollment centers at locations like H&R Block and select Department of Motor Vehicles. During their Summer Tour, they set up pop-up enrollment centers at hotels across the country. They’re also now marketing Precheck at concerts, offering those who enroll access to concert Fast Passes via Precheck. Rumor is, TSA may soon be partnering with a major bank. They may also begin offering special pricing programs for the service. Select hotel and airline reward programs offer the option to use points to pay for the enrollment, while some credit card companies offer waivers to cover the cost.

According to Charlie Carroll, the vice president of Identity Services at TSA’s enrollment services partner MorphoTrust, 250,000 people enroll each month. While momentum is picking up with increased marketing, reaching twenty-five million in the next two and a half years may be an uphill climb.

How Does Increased Precheck Enrollment Affect Travelers

The real question is—how does this affect travelers? On a recent business trip, I got TSA Precheck status via random selection. It was a dream. I kept my shoes on and my laptop and bag of liquids stayed in the suitcase. I breezed through security, arriving at my gate much earlier than I anticipated. Needless to say, I enjoyed the elite status and ease of the service so much I considered enrolling and paying the $85 to become Precheck approved.

But let’s remember–the need for TSA Precheck rose from travelers’ frustration over long, slow security lines. Long, slow security lines are the result of travelers having to empty bags and practically de-robe to pass security. These requirements came in response to terrorism. TSA Precheck was then created as an elite service for frequent travelers. Eventually, preferred members of airlines, identified as “low risk” travelers, received access. Now, they’re actively marketing the service with no signs of limiting the number of people who want it.

From where I stand, it appears that they reduced the quality and speed of airport security services after 9/11. Now they’re charging us, the travelers, to get back the convenience of the faster, easier security lines we originally enjoyed. And with enrollment for the service growing rapidly, it seems unlikely that TSA Precheck will continue to be as fast, convenient, and elite as it has been.

Read these blogs next:

Categories
Business Travel Guides

The Ultimate Airport Time-Saver: Tips for Enrolling in TSA PreCheck or Global Entry

It’s not just your imagination: Airport security lines are getting longer and longer. And wait times will only get worse when travel peaks this summer, The New York Times reports.

Now is a better time than ever to consider the Trusted Traveler Programs like TSA PreCheck and Global Entry. More than four million people have already enrolled, saving valuable time and avoiding hassles at the airport like taking off shoes and removing laptops and liquids. This summer, it might even make the difference between catching and missing your next flight.

Wondering which one you should join? For most frequent travelers in the U.S., the choice comes down to the two biggest programs:

TSA Pre?

  • To apply: $85 fee for a five-year membership; requires in-person interview at one of 350+ enrollment centers (children 12 and under can use it free with a family member who is enrolled)
  • Who it’s for: U.S. citizens and permanent residents who mostly travel within the U.S.
  • What you get: You’ve seen these dedicated security lanes at the airport, often with just a handful of people in line. The program offers expedited airport screening; passengers don’t need to remove shoes, belts, laptops or liquids. It’s available with 12 participating airlines at more than 160 airports. (Some notable exceptions include low-fare carriers like Spirit and Frontier.)

Global Entry

  • To apply: $100 fee for a five-year membership; requires in-person interview at 80+ enrollment centers
  • Who it’s for: U.S. citizens, permanent residents and citizens of select other countries who travel internationally; requires a valid passport
  • What you get: Expedited clearance at Customs and Border Protection checkpoints at most U.S airports and select international airports. Travelers can skip these often lengthy queues and instead scan their fingerprints at automated machines without filling out any forms.
  • Here’s what’s key: With Global Entry, you’re automatically eligible for TSA PreCheck.

Which Should You Get?

For anyone planning to travel abroad in the next five years, the extra $15 for Global Entry is a no-brainer to get the benefits of both programs.

The biggest drawback: You’ll need to plan ahead. Since there are fewer enrollment centers for Global Entry than TSA PreCheck, the wait time for an appointment will generally be at least a few weeks, if not months. And if you frequently travel with family members, each person needs to apply and interview separately.

Tip: Global Entry’s related programs NEXUS or SENTRI can also add value for travelers across the Canadian and Mexican borders.

For those wanting to be even more speedy and efficient:

Also Consider CLEAR

  • To apply: The standard membership is $179 per year. Added family members (over 18) cost an additional $50. Children under 18 can use the CLEARlane for free (with a CLEAR member).
  • Who it’s for: U.S. citizens and permanent residents over 18; requires a valid passport or photo I.D.
  • Where can you use it? CLEAR lanes are currently in the following airports: Austin (AUS), Baltimore (BWI), Dallas/Ft. Worth (DFW), Denver (DEN), Houston (IAH & HOU), Las Vegas (LAS), Miami (MIA), Orlando (MCO), San Antonio (SAT), San Francisco (SFO), San Jose (SJC) and Westchester, N.Y. (HPN)
    • More airports are coming: Delta Air Lines and CLEAR recently announced a partnership that will bring the program to all Delta U.S. hubs this year.
  • What you get: CLEAR uses your fingerprint instead of a license/passport to get you through the ID-checking portion of security. A CLEAR team member greets you at their lane, scans your boarding pass, taps your finger and escorts you straight to physical screening, skipping the long ID lines.
  • Here’s what’s key: For the fastest way to get through security, a CLEAR membership combined with TSA PreCheck means a quick fingerprint scan and then going straight through expedited security. These two programs address different pain points in security lane delays.

Time and Money-Saving Tips for TSA Pre? and Global Entry

  • Make sure you’re eligible before you apply: This seems like a no-brainer, but if you’re not approved, the application fee won’t be refunded.
  • Application fee reimbursement: Several credit cards – including the AmEx Platinum and Citi Prestige – will offer a statement credit for the application fee. Certain elite members of frequent flyer programs like Delta SkyMiles and United MileagePlus can also receive this benefit.
  • Plan around your travels: If you’re applying for Global Entry, many enrollment centers are located in major airports, including big connecting hubs like Chicago. I scheduled my interview about 2.5 hours before a flight I had already booked from JFK. So I just got to the airport earlier than I normally would.
  • Check for last-minute openings: As word gets out, the backlog of appointments is growing. I had to wait over a month for my appointment, but check once or twice a week. I noticed some last-minute appointments open up.
  • Know your Known Traveler Number: Once approved, you are assigned a Known Traveler Number. Enter this when you book a flight to be eligible for PreCheck on your boarding pass. If you’re a member of a frequent flyer program, you can just save the number to your profile to automatically apply to future bookings.
  • Double check before you fly: You might get use to the shorter lines, but PreCheck isn’t always guaranteed (especially for international flights on foreign carriers’ code-share partners). And remember: Not every airline and airport participates in PreCheck, so make sure to check the list here.

Read Next: TSA PreCheck: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Categories
Business Travel

Getting Through Airport Security

tsaIn order to test TSA airport security systems, undercover agents will try to get through undetected with hidden threats. When it was revealed that 95% of the time TSA security screeners and/or devices failed to detect the agents’ hidden threats, Jeh Johnson, Secretary of Homeland Security, began considering additional measures to increase safety.

But what does that mean for you as a traveler? More than likely, it potentially means longer lines at security check points. To avoid this, especially if you are a frequent traveler, we recommend you sign up for Global Entry or TSA Pre?™. There is no time like the present.

For more information on these programs visit CBP.gov or TSA.gov. For additional information on which airlines and airports offer TSA Pre?™ click here.

Related Posts

  1. How to Enroll in TSA Pre?™
  2. Global Entry: Experienced Business Travelers’ #1 Travel Tip
  3. TSA Pre?™: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
  4. How to Avoid Security Lines (or at least get through them faster)
Categories
Business Travel Travel Industry Travel News

TSA Pre? Update

TSA Pre?™ has recently undergone some positive changes. Due to complaints regarding slow lines, not enough personnel coverage, and too many non-Pre? members using the Pre? lanes, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has reduced the number of non-Pre? passengers using those lanes by 25%.

However, this doesn’t mean it is smooth sailing for TSA Pre? members. In 2014, Congress reduced funding for TSA by $530 million and the agency had to cut 3,500 screening positions. TSA’s reduction in personnel leaves TSA employees covering both the Pre? and the regular lines. This also allows for low risk travelers to go through the TSA Pre? lanes for faster screening.

Travelers may not like this, but TSA hopes the experience will encourage non-members to apply for the expedited service. In fact, TSA is hiring a private contractor to recruit people into the trusted-traveler status. In 2015, a marketing campaign will begin to recruit members and TSA will offer onsite sign-ups at business locations.

Currently 598,184 people are enrolled in PreCheck and more than 1.3 million through Global Entry. With the new campaign, TSA could sign up some 10 million people. In theory, more people, more money, more personnel, means faster screening. I least I hope so.

Categories
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.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Technology

TSA Launches New Application Program for TSA PreCheck

Christopherson Business Travel received the following notification from Delta this week, and wanted to share this valuable news with our travelers:

delta_EmailExtra_Header(July 24, 2013) – On July 22, 2013, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced that it will add an additional opportunity for U.S. citizens to be eligible to receive expedited screening through TSA PreCheck lanes at select airports. To view the complete TSA press release, please click here.

Delta customers interested in enrolling will be required to submit an online application, complete an in-person interview at an enrollment site and pay an $85 five-year membership fee when the program launches later this fall. A U.S. passport is not required to enroll. Approved customers will be given a Known Traveler Number to store in their passenger profile when purchasing a ticket. Click here for more enrollment details.

  • Customers are encouraged to contact the TSA for more information on this new program via email at TSA-ContactCenter@dhs.gov or 1-866-289-9673.
  • Initially, enrollment sites will be located at Washington Dulles International Airport and Indianapolis International Airport. The TSA expects to expand at other locations in the future.
  • Customers who have received TSA PreCheck through Delta SkyMiles or through a Customs and Border Protection Trusted Traveler Program such as Global Entry, will not need to reapply; this is only for new entrants to the program.

While this additional opportunity provides a benefit to our customers who do not possess a valid U.S. passport, Delta encourages those who travel to international destinations to apply for the Customs and Border Protection Global Entry program to receive TSA PreCheck eligibility.

With Global Entry, customers receive quicker access through Customs and Boarder Protection checkpoints at key international gateways and may receive expedited screening through the TSA PreCheck program as well. Click here to learn more: www.globalentry.gov

As always, the TSA incorporates random unpredictable security measures and no one is guaranteed expedited screening.

Resources
Additional information about TSA PreCheck is available by visiting the following links.

TSA Press Release

TSA PreCheck Application Process

TSA PreCheck FAQs

TSA PreCheck for Active Duty Military 

TSA PreCheck Participating Airports

Categories
Business Travel Travel News

Delta, United, & US Airways Now Alerting Passengers of TSA Pre? Status

TSA Pre? status on boarding passes

TSA Pre?™ allows select frequent flyers as well as members of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Trusted Traveler programs, who fly on participating airlines, to receive expedited screening benefits during domestic travel. Eligible participants use dedicated screening lanes for benefits which include keeping shoes, light outerwear and belts on, as well as the option to leave laptops and 3-1-1 compliant liquids in carry-on bags.

In recent news, Delta, United, and US Airways are now alerting qualified passengers of their Pre? status with a “TSA Pre?” alert on mobile and paper boarding passes. This update comes in response to many eligible passengers often being unaware of their Pre? status or being unsure of which checkpoint line to join.

Delta and US Airways passengers will see “TSA Pre?” on printed boarding passes and, by the end of next week, the TSA Pre? logo will be on those airlines’ mobile boarding passes. On United, the TSA Pre? logo is currently only on printed boarding passes.

More details about the Pre? program and eligibility are on the TSA website.

 

Categories
Business Travel Travel Tips

How to Avoid Security Lines (or at least get through them faster)

Avoid Long Security Lines at Airports

Avoid long security lines at the airport

Some travelers can be their own worst enemy when it comes to slowing down the security lines. They don’t follow the publicized rules and continue to try and sneak items past security. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) confiscates thousands of items every year. Below are a few resources for travelers to use and review that will help avoid those long security lines.

  1. This app, provided by the TSA, allows travelers to check wait times for security lines.
  2. Another program, offered by the TSA, is the Pre?™ program. This program prescreens frequent flyers so you can avoid long lines and breeze through security. To qualify, the traveler needs to fly certain number of miles annually and be invited by the airline as a trusted traveler. To learn more about this program please visit TSA.gov.
  3. The Global Entry Program is for low-risk international travelers coming to the United States. Global Entry members can use the Global Entry kiosks located at airports by entering their passport to activate the system. The kiosk then scans the traveler’s fingerprint and compares it to fingerprint biometrics data on file. In order to qualify for this program, travelers need to complete the Global Entry application, found here. There is a fee of $100 to process the application. Global Entry, once approved, is valid for 5 years.
  4. CLEAR is another speedy way to get through security by automating a traveler’s identity using biometrics, fingerprints, and their iris. After completing an online registration process, a traveler will receive instructions to visit an enrollment center with their driver’s license and passport (or other approved ID) to complete enrollment. Once approved, they then receive a CLEAR card by mail to present at the exclusive CLEAR lane at security check points. CLEAR is currently not available at all airports, but is expanding. The yearly cost for CLEAR is $179. Visit ClearMe.com for more information and to access to the online registration form.
Categories
Business Travel Travel Industry

TSA Pre? Quick Guide Security Location Chart

Updated: August 2016 – The TSA Pre? program continues to expand, currently serving 40 airports, with more to come throughout the year. The trick is, knowing which airports are in the program and where to locate the Pre? security point at each participating airport. When this blog was first written in 2013, there were only 40 airports participating in TSA  Pre?. Now they are in almost every state!

The security location chart previously listed is now outdated. For the most up-to-date information on TSA  Pre? availability, go to the TSA map page.

Once a passenger is deemed eligible for expedited screening through the TSA Pre? pre-screening process, information is embedded in the barcode of the passenger’s boarding pass. When TSA then scans the barcode at a security checkpoint, the passenger may be referred to the expedited screening lane, although Pre? approved passengers are still subject to random searches and screenings for security purposes.

Under TSA Pre?’s program, passengers who use a Pre? security checkpoint do not have to remove certain items of clothing, such as belts, shoes and light outerwear, and can keep laptops and liquids in carry-on bags.

Also, check out our recent blogs on TSA Pre?

Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management company with more than 60 years of experience. Known for our superior travel technology and consultative account services, we on average save our client 15% on their travel budget annually. Contact us to learn more about our unique travel management services.  

Categories
Travel Industry Travel News

TSA Exploring New Airport Security Line Designs For Quicker PreCheck Screening

TSA Pre-Check security linesAfter TSA’s PreCheck pilot program debuted last year, the Transportation Security Administration has continued to work towards finding even more effective and efficient PreCheck screening processes for air travelers.

The initial program promised enhanced security by placing more focus on pre-screening travelers who volunteered information about themselves prior to flying in order to potentially expedite the travel experience.

However, the challenge for TSA has been the ability to quickly identify PreCheck customers early in the screening process and then direct them to either a special queue or to the actual PreCheck checkpoint location. In an effort to remedy this, the TSA is now testing new queue designs to further speed members of the PreCheck trusted traveler program through the airport screening process.

To read more about the TSA’s efforts, click here.

Categories
Travel News

TSA Pre?™ Program Comes to Salt Lake City, Minneapolis, LA, & JFK

Having participated in past lobbying efforts for a TSA trusted traveler program, I am thrilled to see one such program coming to my local airport.

The TSA Pre?™ pilot is aimed at enhancing the security experience by pre-screening individuals who volunteer information about themselves prior to flying in order to potentially expedite the travel experience.
In early 2012, participants in Delta Air Line’s frequent flyer program will be eligible for this expedited screening at the Salt Lake International airport. Once TSA determines a passenger’s eligibility, information will then be embedded in the bar-code of the boarding pass and security personnel will direct the traveler to the correct security line. Other airlines, including United, Continental, and US Airways, are expected to join within months.
So far, the pilot program has been successful in Dallas, Miami, Detroit, Atlanta, and Las Vegas. With the program now coming to Salt Lake City, I can already imagine a flash back to the 90s when could I keep my shoes and belt on and didn’t have to wrestle my luggage to remove my lap-top and zip-lock bag of liquids.
Janet Napolitano, secretary of Homeland Secretary, said the TSA’s Pre?™ program will expand by the end of 2012 to encompass 35 airports. “It’s part of a fundamental shift in how we approach aviation security,” Napolitano said. “Not all travelers are alike and they don’t all present the same risk.”
In addition to Salt Lake City, travelers in Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Chicago, and New York City will also be included in this phase of the Pre?™ program.
Visit TSA.gov for full details.

Categories
Travel News

TSA Pre?™ Program Comes to Salt Lake City, Minneapolis, LA, & JFK

Having participated in past lobbying efforts for a TSA trusted traveler program, I am thrilled to see one such program coming to my local airport.

The TSA Pre?™ pilot is aimed at enhancing the security experience by pre-screening individuals who volunteer information about themselves prior to flying in order to potentially expedite the travel experience.
In early 2012, participants in Delta Air Line’s frequent flyer program will be eligible for this expedited screening at the Salt Lake International airport. Once TSA determines a passenger’s eligibility, information will then be embedded in the bar-code of the boarding pass and security personnel will direct the traveler to the correct security line. Other airlines, including United, Continental, and US Airways, are expected to join within months.
So far, the pilot program has been successful in Dallas, Miami, Detroit, Atlanta, and Las Vegas. With the program now coming to Salt Lake City, I can already imagine a flash back to the 90s when could I keep my shoes and belt on and didn’t have to wrestle my luggage to remove my lap-top and zip-lock bag of liquids.
Janet Napolitano, secretary of Homeland Secretary, said the TSA’s Pre?™ program will expand by the end of 2012 to encompass 35 airports. “It’s part of a fundamental shift in how we approach aviation security,” Napolitano said. “Not all travelers are alike and they don’t all present the same risk.”
In addition to Salt Lake City, travelers in Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Chicago, and New York City will also be included in this phase of the Pre?™ program.
Visit TSA.gov for full details.