TSA PreCheck Program To Expand To O’Hare, 27 Other New Airports

CHICAGO (CBS) — Frequent fliers should soon be able to avoid the hassle of removing their shoes or belts, or taking their laptops out of their luggage when they pass through security checkpoints at O’Hare International Airport and dozens of other airports.

As CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reports, frequent fliers who meet certain requirements could soon enroll in a new federal program that could be in place by the end of the year at 28 airports nationwide, including O’Hare.

To take part in the Transportation Security Administration’s “PreCheck” program those fliers would have to undergo rigorous background checks and take part in an interview before they are enrolled.

The program is already in place at seven airports, but only for passengers on Delta or American airlines.

It’s a familiar routine for airline passengers to wait in long lines at security and take off their shoes and belts and take their laptops out of their bags for screening.

But, for frequent travelers enrolling in the TSA PreCheck program, all of those security formalities could be a thing of the past.

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said, “This could include no longer having to remove shoes, laptops, jackets or belts.”

Traveler Jerry Jennings said, “Oh, that would be a great thing. I’d really enjoy that. It would be a time saver.”

The TSA has tested the PreCheck program at seven of the nation’s busiest airports. The goal is to add the program at O’Hare and 27 other airports this year.

United, U.S. Airways and Alaska Airlines would take part. Frequent fliers would need to register at globalentery.gov and provide personal information.

“As long as they have all of my information in the system, I think they should let business travelers check in, in this expedited way,” Jennings said.

While some passengers said they see the benefits in this program, there are some who have concerns.

“It is a little odd that some people have to go through one step and others that don’t. So, I do have a problem with that,” Mitchell Roberts said.

TSA Administrator John S. Pistole said, “What TSA PreCheck does is it allows us to spend more time on those that we know the least about – only name, date of birth, and gender – through a secure flight, or that we know the most about because they are on a terrorist watch list.”

Those enrolled in the program will have their information embedded in the bar code of their boarding pass, so they may enter a TSA PreCheck lane to get through security faster.

  • Bill Fisher

    This was originally the TSA Pre-Grope program before they hired a marketing consultant.

    Some “preferred” travelers, who pay a fee and divulge personal financial information, will be groped less often than another traveler who only flies once a year. Now TSA will have passenger financial data that can be compromised. This is an agency that has already lost the personal information of its employees and published its own SSI.

    This program will favor those spending more money and amounts to legalized extortion. Perhaps TSA just thinks some people are “more equal” than others, no civil rights implications there.

    This doesn’t address what is supposed to be TSA’s mission, looking for passengers who pose a risk. Being a frequent flier is no proof that they lack ill intent.

    This is a dangerous precedent that jeopardizes everyone and increases the probability that infrequent travelers will be primary victims of TSA abuse. It also paves the way for a Congressional exemption, leaving the average citizen with no one to defend them from TSA’s unwarranted intrusions.

    The notion that the size of someone’s wallet or a career choice requiring travel makes someone less of a security risk is illogical and dangerous. This is not risk based at all, but instead just TSA’s response to pressure from the airlines.

    This program is evidence that the TSA security theater is unnecessary harassment of passengers and Congress must demand that TSA adopt sensible and respectful procedures for everyone, not just select groups of passengers. There should be no further funding of TSA until they implement procedures we all can live with.

    TSA Crimes & Abuses

    • Bezore

      I personally love the idea. I have flown almost a million miles, my wife more than a million. And we each log 75-80k miles a year No one needs to worry about people like us. Alex Baldwin, maybe…..

  • http://trutherator.wordpress.com/2012/02/11/tsa-help-wanted-hilarious-satire-animation-about-tsa-perverts-janet-napolitano-and-the-bill-of-rights/ TSA Help Wanted – hilarious satire animation about TSA perverts, Janet Napolitano and the Bill of Rights « Trutherator's Weblog

    […] TSA PreCheck Program To Expand To O’Hare, 27 Other New Airports (chicago.cbslocal.com) […]

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Weather Reports Delivered To You!SIGN UP NOW: Get daily weather reports every morning from meteorologist Steve Baskerville!
CBS Sports Radio RoundupGet your latest sports talk from across the country.

Listen Live