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TSA’s Pre-Check Program Hits the 1 Million Mark

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TSA Pre-CheckTSA’s Pre-Check program, designed to speed travelers through airport security, hit a milestone this week: enrolling its millionth passenger.

The lucky enrollee signed up at an application center in Boise, Idaho.

Acting TSA Administrator Melvin Carraway announced the news at an event Tuesday at National Airport. The program, launched in 2011 and expanded to the general public in 2013, gives eligible travelers the option of skipping the hassle of removing their shoes and other items from their person (and their bags) when they go through airport screening.

This milestone is a testament to the outstanding collaborative work between TSA, airports, airlines and most importantly, the traveling public. With more than 330 application centers nationwide, it is easier than ever to apply for expedited screening.” – Acting TSA Administrator Melvin Carraway.

Travelers have to apply for the program, be fingerprinted and pay an $85 fee. Once approved, their Pre-Check status is good for five years. Once travelers are approved for the program, they’re given a Known Traveler Number, which can be used to enter expedited security lines at  115 U.S. airports and for travel on nearly a dozen major U.S. airlines, including Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, Sun Country Airlines, United Airlines,  US Airways and Virgin America, as well as Air Canada.

Even folks who don’t enroll may enjoy the benefits of Pre-Check — an arrangement that came under scrutiny by lawmakers this month. As part of the program,  TSA randomly selects passengers it deems low-risk to participate in expedited screening. But after the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general revealed that a felon convicted of murder and explosives-related offenses was allowed to pass through the Pre-Check security lane, Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson,  the senior Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, said he will introduce legislation to ensure that such an incident is not repeated.

In response, TSA issued the following statement:

“The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) takes its responsibility for protecting the traveling public very seriously. TSA continues to enhance its layered security approach through state-of-the-art technologies, improved passenger identification techniques and trusted traveler programs, and best practices to strengthen transportation security across all modes of transportation. All passengers, including those with TSA Pre✓ on boarding passes, are subject to a robust security approach that employs multiple layers of security, both seen and unseen. Together, these layers provide enhanced security and a stronger, more protected transportation system for the traveling public.”

Nevertheless, the program has proved popular with travelers, particularly in the D.C. region, home to one of the busiest off-airport Pre-Check application sites in the country. According to figures released by TSA, 15,500 travelers have applied for the program through the application center in Alexandria. That’s followed by off-airport site centers in Los Angeles/Glendale, 15,358, New York, 13,694 and Seattle, 12,098.

The two application centers at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport constitute the busiest airport site with 25,404 applications, followed by Indianapolis International Airport with 21,195 and the center at Dulles International Airport, which ranks third in the country with 17,844.

In the Washington region, there are at least four Pre-Check application centers — two at airports, Dulles and National — one on Duke Street in Alexandria and another in Linthicum, Md., near Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.

This article was written by Lori Aratani from The Washington Post and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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