TSA's Elite Fast Lane Doesn't Always Work

Even those who pay up may get singled out for regular screening

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 15, 2012 2:38 PM CDT

(Newser) – The TSA's "Precheck" pilot program is up and running, with some select, lucky travelers who've paid $100 to sign up with the government's Trusted Traveler program getting to breeze through security for Delta and American Airlines at nine airports. But in a mostly glowing Wall Street Journal piece on it today, the Consumerist notes a pretty significant flaw: It doesn't always work. Passengers are occasionally randomly selected for regular screening, meaning they have to pack with all the normal rules in mind.

"I like Precheck, but it would be much more valuable to me if I were able to know before leaving for the airport whether or not I had Precheck approval," said one frequent traveler. Another downside: It may be making regular security lines longer for everyone else, as agents are diverted to the little-used Precheck line. But the TSA and Customs and Border Protection are committed to the program, and say they want to expand it to 35 airports and to as many passengers as possible.

A passenger enters a new expedited security line Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011 at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta.
A passenger enters a new expedited security line Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011 at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta.   (AP Photo/David Goldman)
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