Filed under : Editors Choice

Seniors – Is the New Pre-Check For You?

The days of shedding shoes, belts and jackets at the airport will soon be over, at least for some air travelers. A new “pre-check” program is helping to ease the long waits at airport security. During peak travel times, senior travelers can sometimes see the security lines stretch across the walkways between the airport and parking garages. But thanks to a new TSA initiative, at least for some people, those security lines may be going away.

The Transportation Security Administration has announced that it will allow some passengers to be pre-screened and essentially get an “EZ Pass” through the lines. “The more pre-screening we can do, the more likely it is that a person would be able to keep their shoes on, their belt on, a light jacket, and laptop in their brief case; things like that,” says TSA Administrator, John Pistole.

The Tempe based US Airways began selling an airport “fast pass” with priority check-in with security and boarding privileges.  The pass will cost travelers $10 to $26 one way depending on the airport. Carnival Cruises has followed suit and they are testing a $50 package of perks that includes priority boarding and room access and a quicker exit off the ship in port. American Airlines just started offering baggage-delivery service for travelers who don’t want to wait at the baggage claim area. All are designed to boost revenue.

Speedier, Less Stressful Experiences For Seniors

To qualify for Precheck, frequent fliers must meet undisclosed TSA criteria and get invited in by the airlines. There is also a backdoor in. Approved travelers who are in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s “Global Entry” program can transfer into Precheck using their Global Entry number. Frequent flyers already get such perks through loyalty programs. The program will be run by private companies, to which interested passengers will provide  information and pay a yearly subscription between $80 and $100 for the privilege of expedited travel through security barriers.

Many cities with toll booths have what is called an EZ Pass that uses RFID (Radio Frequency ID) to let you go through toll booths faster by simply driving around the toll gates.

Enrolling requires a $100 application fee for a background check, plus a brief interview with a Customs officer. For domestic travel, Global Entry pays off because it gets you into Precheck. Once TSA announced that enrollment in Global Entry and other “trusted travel” programs (Nexus for frequent travel across the Canadian border and Sentri for frequent travel across the Mexican border) would get you into Precheck, applications for Global Entry took off.

Just thought you might like to know.  jeb



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