Taken directly from www.tsa.gov, here’s their description of the program:
TSA Pre✓™ is a pre-screening initiative that makes risk assessments on passengers who voluntarily participate prior to their arrival at the airport checkpoint.
TSA Pre✓™ includes U.S. citizens who are members of existing Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Trusted Traveler programs including Global Entry, NEXUS, and SENTRI programs as well as eligible airline frequent travelers.
If TSA determines a passenger is eligible for expedited screening, information is embedded in the barcode of the passenger’s boarding pass. TSA reads the barcode at designated checkpoints and the passenger may be referred to a lane where they will undergo expedited screening, which could include no longer removing the following items:
- 3-1-1 compliant bag from carry-on
- Laptop from bag
- Light outerwear/jacket
In addition, passengers 12 and younger are allowed through TSA Pre✓™ lanes with eligible passengers.
On my recent return flight from Tampa, I was invited to go through the new “TSA Pre-Check” security line – presumably because I’ve wrangled my way to Gold Medallion Status with Delta and I fly fairly often. I had gotten to the airport with plenty of time and it’s not like the lines were atrocious, but it felt like a nice benefit nonetheless.
I was whisked to a conveyor belt where I simply placed my bag and emptied my pockets. I walked through the magnetometer and grabbed my belongings. It was a little like being time warped to a pre-9/11 world! I didn’t have to take my belt off. I left my shoes on. My vulnerably naked picture wasn’t transmitted into a dark room for someone to analyze. My laptop stayed right where it was and if I had dared to bring a 3.1 oz tube of toothpaste not in a plastic bag, they’d have shrugged it off all the same.
Yes, this is encouraging. For the record, I’m not one to complain about airport security measures. I’d fly naked if it guaranteed my security… of course I am a bit of a nudist. But it has gotten a little ridiculous in a world where my 5 and 7 year-old boys have to remove and re-tie their shoes – something that consumes far too much time when minutes are often at a premium.
Combine this little perk with a complimentary upgrade to First Class on a three-hour flight, SkyPriority Baggage tags that ensure that my luggage is free and among the first to come rolling out, and I feel a little like a celebrity.