By Keith Laing
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is expanding its “Pre-Check” program for passengers to 60 new airports, the agency announced on Wednesday.
The new locations will bring the total number of airports where fliers can volunteer information to the agency in exchange for the possibility of receiving expedited screening to 100, according to TSA officials.
TSA Administrator John Pistole said the expansion of Pre-Check was evidence of his agency’s commitment to move toward a “risk-based” airport security system.
“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,” Pistole said in a statement. “Expanding TSA Pre-Check to more locations enables many more passengers across the country to experience expedited screening.”
Since its inception in 2002, critics have frequently accused the TSA of, at best, being inefficient and, at worst, violating airline passengers' privacy.
Pistole said in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution this week that the agency's switch to "risk-based" procedures like Pre-Check were helping to change the perception of the TSA.
“We have undertaken some fairly significant changes both in policy and in procedures, so more and more people are experiencing a different TSA at the airport,” Pistole told the newspaper.
“You keep your shoes on, you keep your belt on, keep your light jacket on, keep your small-sized liquids and your laptop in your carry-on bag — you don’t even have to take those out — and then you go through a walk-through metal detector," Pistole also said of the "Pre-Check" program.
The TSA is scheduled to begin allowing passengers to sign up for "Pre-Check" directly for a fee of $85. Previously, the program was only offered to passengers using specific airlines out of a pre-selected airports.