TSA Pre Check May Not Be the Deal it Appears to Be

By | December 8, 2014

An orange check mark.

Recently, someone who frequently gets TSA Pre-Check(but hasn’t signed up) was commenting to me that they had Pre-Check on their boarding pass, but the Pre-Check was closed. 500 of 2200 TSA security lanes are designated as full or part time for Pre-Check.

JL Johnson wrote an article over at AirlineReporter.com that made many of these points as well. Despite TSA Pre Check sounding good in theory, there are issues.

Johnson’s thoughts on the TSA in general mirror ours. “While the TSA readily admits knifes and guns are not the biggest threat to security, they continue to tout each find they make. As a result, they directly contribute to the perception that small weapons are the primary concern.

TSA Pre-Check is a Trusted Traveler program that rolls back standards to 2000. No removal of belt, shoes, light jackets, laptop, liquids…and supposedly an expedited line.

The cost for this is $85 for 5 years, although for a short amount more you can apply for Global Entry, which includes this. You have to consent to fingerprinting and a background check. And more and more people are doing it. On one level, the $85 amounts to $17 a year. If you pay the airline for the service of expedited screening, while it is often included with something else, it would certainly be more. And the more you fly…

At the end of the day, maybe signing up for TSA Pre-Check is worth it, but the TSA wants more people in the program, which means the line will be longer. They also seem to be giving it away to some people. So…either the TSA will erode the benefit…or not.

In the end, the TSA is more Security Theater….so we don’t feel better or worse about avoiding some of the measures.

If it is a Theater, than we shall be but a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.