If you ask me, of all the things out there that have made the normally hectic travel experience better, it’s TSA PreCheck.
I mean, think about it. It’s in the midst of becoming much easier to renew your passport but that just saves you from anxiety before your trip LOL. Having your airline ticket on your phone saves you from having to carry a paper copy of your boarding ticket, but that’s really not a huge deal. Self-tagging your bags saves you time at the airline agent’s desk, but you still have to stay in the queue to drop your bag off. Global Entry is almost as good as PreCheck in terms of time savings, but, at least for Joe and I, we travel domestically much more often than we do internationally.
So PreCheck is my favorite.
I remember when the PreCheck queues almost got a whole lot shorter – but then didn’t (thanks, U.S. Senate). That’s unfortunate, because the reality is that PreCheck lines are getting longer (here’s why). And I wonder if that length is going to increase even more. Read on…
For years, IDEMIA has been the company that the TSA has authorized to do PreCheck enrollment. Based in France, the multinational technology company provides identity-related security services, and sells facial recognition and other biometric identification products and software to private companies and governments. They’ve been working in the U.S. for over half a century and besides being involved in PreCheck membership, electronic fingerprints for employment, they’re also the #1 supplier of driver’s licenses in the U.S.
Anyway, IDEMIA recently launched a new type of TSA PreCheck enrollment that’s designed to make the processes both easier and faster by bringing it to the airport. It will be taking place at Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport (JAN) in Jackson, Mississippi through March 28th.
Instead of applying online, making an appointment to get fingerprinted and waiting for your Known Traveler Number, IDEMIA enrollment teams will be stationed throughout the airport with mobile carts equipped to enroll passengers for TSA PreCheck in five minutes or less. Most passengers will receive their Known Traveler Number (KTN) within 3-5 days. So the process, instead of taking weeks, will now take days.
The new enrollment initiative at JAN Airport will be tested at 3 different areas within the airport:: pre-security, post-security and in the gate area. They plan to test the program at other airports later in the year.
“This is absolutely a game changer for enrollment efficiencies, and we are incredibly excited to roll it out this week at JAN Airport in Jackson, Mississippi,” Lisa Sullivan, SVP, Travel and Transport for IDEMIA I&S North America, said in a press release. “We are giving passengers greater access and flexibility, making the whole process easier, quicker, and more efficient. Passenger education is a priority for this initiative and key to its success, so we are working closely with our enrollment agents and brand ambassadors who will be stationed throughout the airport in easy-to-spot uniforms to increase awareness, encourage passengers to enroll and answer any questions.”
There have been PreCheck application locations in select Staples stores for a few years, but to be honest, they don’t do anything there that a person couldn’t do at home. And they don’t save you any time, either.
So yeah – if people can do their entire enrollment for PreCheck at the airport, including fingerprinting and payment, it could make for more people who have PreCheck. That’ll be great for the new people, who won’t have to stand in the typical 45-minute lines at the checkpoint anymore.
But for the rest of us, with potentially longer lines on the PreCheck queue? Maybe not so much. Time will tell…
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