The Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) launch of PreCheck, a risk-based security program that shares common elements with a trusted traveler program, won praise from the U.S. Travel Association, who recommended the program earlier this year.
"We are encouraged to see Administrator Pistole and the TSA moving away from one-size-fits-all screening procedures toward a risk-based approach," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. "We believe PreCheck's benefit to U.S. air travelers will be significant when the program is fully implemented, and we look forward to partnering with the TSA to address important issues as PreCheck evolves."
Eligible passengers who voluntarily provide the TSA with personal information and qualify for the program will be directed to special lanes for expedited screening. However, the TSA has not disclosed how the security process will differ for those travelers, U.S. Travel noted. The association said it will work with TSA to address outstanding issues concerning PreCheck including:
• Line management
• A low hassle experience
• Annual funding mechanisms
• Setting security standards that allow program participants greater predictability
• How PreCheck can improve the travel process for all travelers
"While this pilot program is a critical first step, the TSA has a long way to go until all air travelers experience a more efficient travel process," said Dow. "If implemented as recommended by experts – including former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and former Congressman Jim Turner – we believe this type of risk-based program can eventually provide all eligible travelers with less hassle, more efficiency and predictability and increased security."
According to the TSA, the voluntary test program covers travelers enrolled in American Airlines and Delta Air Lines' frequent-flier program or three government trusted traveler programs – GlobalEntry, NEXUS and SENTRI. It will be available for eligible American Airlines passengers at Dallas-Fort Worth International and Miami International airports. For eligible Delta passengers, it will be available at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International and Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County airports.
In March 2011, the U.S. Travel Association presented a comprehensive report on aviation security. Among its key recommendations was a trusted traveler program similar to PreCheck.