With the addition of Air Canada yesterday, TSA is now embarking on a process to enroll international carriers into the PreCheck program. As noted in the article by Scott Mayerowitz of the AP, the airlines will need to deploy minor technology updates to participate:
Airlines need to first update their computer systems to embed extra information in their boarding pass barcodes as well as printing a PreCheck logo.
I’ve been a huge fan of PreCheck since it was rolled out about 4 years ago, signing up for Nexus/Global Entry to increase my chances of getting into the PreCheck early on. At my home airport, Washington Dulles, I can get out of my car and be through security and on my way in as little as 4 minutes.
This is the right step for PreCheck, IMO. It’s also a much better step than the current process of picking random folks out of the regular security line and dumping them into PreCheck. Doing so puts people unfamiliar with the process in lanes that move much faster, slowing down all the passengers behind them. Just this past weekend on my crazy trip back from Seattle, one of my traveling companions made it through the premium security line before I made it through PreCheck even though both of us entered at the same time and I had a relatively short line at PreCheck. The folks in front of me were not familiar with the PreCheck process and slowed down the line considerably.
That’s not their fault. And I understand TSA’s concern that they need more people going through PreCheck to justify the expense. I’ve got to imagine that the expansion of PreCheck to include international carriers means means being able to feed those PreCheck lines with travelers who are accustomed to the PreCheck security procedures. That’s good for all travelers.