The Transportation Security Administration reports that the number of travelers signing up for its PreCheck program—which allows you to move through airport security faster and without removing your shoes and taking electronics out of your luggage—has more than tripled in the last few months, surging to an average of 16,000 applicants a day in May.
The result? You guessed it: long delays in processing applications. To complete the PreCheck process, passengers have to pay a fee of $85, undergo a background check, and complete an in-person interview. But dozens of applicants complain that they've been given appointments for interviews that are weeks or even months away.
So if we have this right, travelers who followed the TSA's advice for not getting stuck in long lines now find themselves . . . stuck in a long line.
The government agency and the private company that processes all PreCheck applications both say they're aware of the problem and working to resolve it. In the meantime, airports have reported recent improvements in wait times, thanks in part to Congress's approval of the TSA's plan to move funds around to allow more full-time screeners. But with the summer travel season kicking into full swing, many observers worry that the agency's stop-gap efforts are unsustainable amid a high volume of travelers.