Shorter PreCheck Lines Ahead? Congress Passes Bill Banning Non-Enrolled Passengers
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
Could shorter TSA PreCheck lines finally be a reality? Congress seems to hope so, at least. This week, the House of Representatives passed the PreCheck is PreCheck Act of 2018 (H.R. 6265) — which directs the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to "ensure that only travelers who are members of a trusted traveler program are permitted to use TSA PreCheck security screening lanes at TSA checkpoints."
The bill makes exceptions for travelers under the 12 and over 75 who aren't TSA PreCheck members but are "traveling on the same reservation as a member of a trusted traveler program."
Instead of letting un-enrolled travelers in the PreCheck line, the TSA is directed to implement a "long-term strategy to increase enrollment in the TSA PreCheck Program" to expand the number of trusted travelers.
In a period of incredible partisanship, this bill has proven to be remarkably uncontroversial. It passed the House of Representative's Committee on Homeland Security unanimously before being referred to the full House — which passed it through a simple voice vote mere minutes after the bill was introduced.
Now the bill heads to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation for approval and before being referred to the Senate floor for a vote.
The potential downside of this program might not be obvious, but recent experiences have me worried: It could lead to more closed PreCheck lines.
Quite a few times this year, I've had to clear standard security in airports/terminals with TSA PreCheck lines because the PreCheck line was closed. For example, Newark's Terminal A regularly closes its PreCheck lines at 5pm. If this bill means that even fewer passengers will be able to use the PreCheck line, closed PreCheck lines could become much more standard.
Free Enrollment in PreCheck
If you're looking to get TSA PreCheck — or Global Entry which grants TSA PreCheck privileges — the best way to do so is by applying using a credit card that reimburses the fee. Top options include:
- Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card ($95 annual fee, waived the first year) — credit every four years
- United Explorer Card ($95 annual fee, waived the first year) — credit every four years
- Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card ($95 annual fee) — credit every four years
- Chase Sapphire Reserve ($550 annual fee) — credit every four years
- The Platinum Card® from American Express ($550 annual fee) — credit every four years
- Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard ($450) — credit every five years
With the addition (finally) of British Airways and, most recently, Swiss, there are now 54 airlines that participate in the expedited security program. If your boarding pass doesn't show PreCheck on one of these airlines, here are some tips for rectifying that problem.
H/T: Air Transport World