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On the surface PreCheck seems like a step in the right direction, but in reality it is building on top of the country’s already outdated and unstable transportation infrastructure. Airports should be streamlining security for all passengers instead of creating more lanes under a new name.
Savannah frequent fliers have embraced the Transportation Security Administration‘s PreCheck initiative that allows for expedited security screening before boarding.
“Right now, we’re averaging about 900 passengers a day going through our PreCheck lanes, and this is the non-peak season,” James Scott, federal security director for the TSA in Savannah, told Savannah Airport Commission members at their monthly meeting Wednesday.
“As we move into the busy season, we expect that number to grow to between 1,200 and 1,500 per day.”
Approved PreCheck passengers are allowed to leave on shoes, light outerwear and belts, keep laptops in their cases and 3-1-1 compliant liquids/gels in a carry-on bag when going through security.
“This is designed to be an expedited process, so my goal is that going through the security PreCheck lane take no longer than five minutes, Scott said. “We’re doing that now, averaging three to four minutes per PreCheck screen, but with JetBlue ramped up and other airlines adding flights, it’s going to be more of a challenge down the road.”
The TSA began implementing PreCheck for approved passengers in October 2011, starting with major airports and screening more than 15 million to date.
PreCheck at Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport began in October 2013. Last month, a local enrollment site was opened at the universal screening center on Dean Forest Road, which also handles Transportation Workers Identification Credentials for the Georgia Ports.
PreCheck enrollment is available to U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. Interested applicants must visit the enrollment center to be fingerprinted and provide valid identity documentation, such as a passport or driver’s license and birth certificate.
There is a nonrefundable application processing fee of $85.
After completing enrollment and passing a background check, successful applicants will receive a Known Traveler Number through the U.S. mail, usually within three weeks. The number, which is valid for five years, will allow the traveler to utilize TSA PreCheck lanes at security points in more than 150 participating airports and on nine major U.S. airlines, including all those flying out of Savannah/Hilton Head.
If You Go
Local PreCheck enrollment can be completed at the Universal Enrollment Center located at 1481 Dean Forest Road, Bldg. 200, Suite C, just south of Southbridge. Applicants are encouraged to begin the process online at http://www.tsa.gov/tsa-precheck, where they also can make an appointment to visit the enrollment center for faster service.
(c)2014 the Savannah Morning News (Savannah, Ga.). Distributed by MCT Information Services.