How much does it cost to never be considered a security risk at an airport ever again? The answer is $85.
The TSA is currently expanding a program that allows passengers to pay a fee to avoid almost all the hassles of going through a security checkpoint. “Precheck” passengers don’t have to take off their shoes or belts, they can leave their laptops int heir bags, and they don’t have to take gels or liquids out of their bags. They still have to wait in line, unless of course the airport has created a special “prescreen” line – which is essentially a fast track next to a long line of frustrated flyers who didn’t qualify for prescreen.
Currently, the only people who can join the program are frequent fliers on Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and US Airways. Even then, not all airports participate in the TSA Pre✓™ program.
The expansion is to more airports, not more passengers. By the end of the year TSA hopes to expand the program to 60 more airports, bringing the grand total to 100 participating airports.
So what do qualifyer flyers have to do? Get finger printed and pay $85, according to the TSA.
“As TSA continues to move away from a one-size-fits-all approach to transportation security, we are looking for more opportunities to provide the most effective security in the most efficient way possible,” TSA Administrator John S. Pistole told NBC News.
Since October 2011, the TSA says, more than 15 million passengers have utilized the program.