TSA adds 11 new airlines to PreCheck program

TSA adds 11 new airlines to PreCheck program
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The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has ramped up its expedited screening program to include 11 new airlines, the agency announced Thursday.

The TSA's PreCheck program will now be available for eligible passengers flying on Aruba Airlines, Avianca, Boutique Airlines, Emirates, Key Lime Air, Miami Air International, Southern Airways Express, Spirit Airlines, Sunwing, Virgin Atlantic and Xtra Airways.

The latest expansion brings the total number of airlines participating in PreCheck to 30.

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“Partnering with 11 additional airlines to offer TSA PreCheck will significantly increase our trusted traveler population, and reflects our commitment to implement the most effective aviation security,” said TSA acting Administrator Huban A. Gowadia. “By collaborating with our partners in industry and the aviation community, we will continue to increase the number of airlines participating in TSA PreCheck, enabling more eligible travelers across the country to experience expedited screening.”

The screening program allows passengers who have undergone background checks to move through expedited security lanes without taking off their shoes or removing electronics from their bags. The enrollment fee is $85 and lasts for five years.

TSA officials have relied on PreCheck to help improve security and ease massive airport security lines, which caused major headaches for passengers and officials last spring.

PreCheck initially ran into trouble after the agency overestimated how many passengers would sign up for the program and cut screening staff in anticipation of enrollment.

But former TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger quickly began raising public awareness about the program, while Congress passed an aviation bill last summer designed to further boost enrollment.

As a result, PreCheck enrollment spiked over the last year, with average daily sign-ups in 2016 double what they were in 2015.

An increasing number of companies also began to reimburse their employees for the program, while some air carriers started allowing travelers to purchase PreCheck with airline points.