TSA cutting back on free PreCheck trials

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The Transportation Security Administration is cutting back on allowing airline passengers to use security lines that are designated for known travelers as membership in its PreCheck program increases, the Los Angeles Times reports

The agency has previously allowed passengers who have not yet enrolled in the PreCheck program to move to the expedited lanes, where fliers are allowed to keep their shoes and belts on, when regular checkpoint lanes become crowded. 

Passengers are normally charged $85 for the possibility of receiving expedited airport security screening in exchange for volunteering information about themselves that is kept on file by the TSA and used to later clear them when they eventually fly. 

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TSA Administrator John Pistole said in an interview with the paper that free trials, which were designed to increase awareness among passengers about the benefits of the PreCheck, were no longer necessary. 

“As we have had more people signed up for TSA PreCheck, we’ll be tapering back on those that we include on a random basis,” Pistole said, according to the report. 

The TSA has touted PreCheck program as a sea change in its approach to airport security for several years. 

The agency has identified its PreCheck program as part of its move toward a “risk-based” security approach, instead of its controversial one-sized-fits-all techniques like X-ray scanners and pat-down hand searches. 

The TSA announced last year that participation in the PreCheck program had topped 1 million passengers.