I’ve been a big proponent of TSA Pre-Check since its inception. No doubt, the TSA gets a lot of flack for things they do poorly. But, I think they’ve done a solid job with Pre-Check. Here’s why:
TSA saw a need when the original iteration of CLEAR became popular. Whether they saw that need because of CLEAR or on their own doesn’t really matter.
The initial roll-out had bumps and bruises and wasn’t widely available. But, it was a starting point. It was just a few airlines’ customers invited at that point, but it grew to most of the major domestic carriers.
Then, they added the ability to qualify for Pre-Check if you we’re a Global Entry/Nexus member.
People were upset that they didn’t know ahead of time if they would qualify for Pre-Check on a specific flight. They said this mitigated the time savings because they still needed to plan for a full security screening.
The TSA addressed that by rolling out a pilot program notifying people on their boarding passes if they qualify.
Critics also noted they couldn’t use Pre-Check on international itineraries. So, TSA rolled out that ability as well, albeit on a limited basis right now. Scott McCartney, who writes the Middle Seat for WSJ has a bit more detail.
Pre-Check isn’t perfect. But, the TSA took an idea and continued to make changes, improving the program at every step. I have no reason to believe there won’t be more improvements/expansion in the future.
If you haven’t found your way into Pre-Check yet, what are you waiting for? If you haven’t been invited by an airline to enroll, sign up for Global Entry. It’s only $100 for 5 years and will change how you think about security and customs clearance for your travels.