With its latest effort to ease security checkpoint hassles, the Transportation Security Administration deserves credit for finally starting to ease some of the burden of flying while maintaining public safety.
That, in itself, is worth noting. Especially for weary travelers who have had to disrobe to varying degrees as they go through security lines. Not to mention the added embarrassment of having to pass through a body scanner that leaves little to the imagination for some unfortunate agent glued to a video screen in a far-off room.
Relief is on the way in the form of a program just announced by the TSA that will speed some low-risk travelers through security lines. The program is on top of the expanded pre-checks just approved for Buffalo Niagara International Airport.
The programs are part of TSA Administrator John S. Pistole’s efforts to redirect his agency’s focus toward those who appear to pose the greatest threat to safety. About 450,000 passengers a day will be eligible for speedier passage through the airport checkpoints. These lucky people will not have to take their shoes or coats off. They will not have to dig out their laptops and may not have to turn their pockets inside out.
It gets better. There is no cost for participating, unlike Pre-Check’s $85 fee. And, believe it or not, no personal information will be required beyond what is provided when someone books a flight: name, date of birth and gender. Pre-Check requires a screening process and fingerprinting.
In an age where more and more personal information is being required for almost every activity, the TSA’s move to simplify matters is notable.
The downside to this very newest program may be its randomness. Passengers will not know they have been selected for the faster lines until they receive their boarding pass or, in some cases, when they reach the security checkpoint. Those selected will be directed to the lines for Pre-Check passengers.
The tragedy of 9/11 spurred the need for increased security measures that led to the creation of what is often a frustrating process for air travelers – although the security is probably appreciated by most passengers. The new random selection for those passengers determined to be low security risks is a travel lottery anyone would covet and honest travelers deserve.