Earlier this month, TSA announced it would add 60 more airports to the list of available PreCheck security screening (“TSA Pre✓™ Expands to 60 Additional Airports” on September 4, 2013). The TSA hopes to expand the expedited screening program to the 60 new airports, in addition to the existing 40, bringing the total number of airports with TSA Pre✓™ to at least 100 by 2014.
However, be warned! Just because you’re a PreCheck beneficiary (especially if you’re batting a 1,000 with Global Entry qualification) and come to expect a speedy pass through a PreCheck lane, you may not HAVE a PreCheck lane depending upon your airport, terminal and/or airline.
For example, I was recently returning from the First2Board’s Charleston Sessions flying CHS-ORD. My wife and I both enjoyed a no-wait PreCheck lane at Chicago’s ORD for our United flight to Charleston CHS (18 for 18 qualifications and counting!), but knew CHS had no PreCheck for the return leg. Nevertheless, I did notice that CHS is one of the new 60 airports, so I decided to inquire with the TSA agent as we passed by about how and where they were going to fit a PreCheck lane before 2014.
The TSA agent confirmed that CHS Concourse A, the terminal for our United flights, was not getting a PreCheck lane, as only Concourse B would have PreCheck by 2014. I dug deeper, “You mean no PreCheck for United [or Delta] customers in Concourse B!?” “That’s the way it looks!” he confirmed. (Now, this is just the word of one TSA agent sniffing shoes all day and looking for bottles of shampoo, so take it for what it’s worth.)
As the TSA ramps its TSA Pre✓™ lanes up to 100 airports across the United States, use caution to confirm that your terminal/gate/airline actually does have a lane on a direct path to your departure before you push your luck with arriving too late to the airport or passing through security. My hope is that TSA will keep THIS LIST up-to-date of TSA Pre✓™ lane locations by airport so you may use it as a quick reference specific to your airport!
Q: Does your frequently traveled (mid-sized?) airport have “PreCheck coming by 2014” but contain multiple terminals resulting in a (possible) similar problem?
Lastly, as carriers like JetBlue and Southwest join PreCheck in the near future (as the TSA has stated), to what extent will airports be forced to remodel/expand security operations areas to allow for various lanes? Supply and demand may nevertheless bump heads with the ugly cousin… Funding!