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The Transportation Security Administration’s Precheck program has been steadily expanding throughout the United States over the last few years, adding new members and airports every day.
Now, with a new partnership with German carrier Lufthansa, the program is officially making inroads into the European Union.
TSA Precheck (sometimes called TSA Pre✓) was started in 2011 as a program to expedite airport security for passengers willing to submit to a one-time enhanced screening and small fee. Since inception, the program has swelled to over three million members, equally propelled by passenger frustration with the status quo and aggressive marketing and expansion by the agency (which openly admits that it’s targeting an eventual enrollment of 25 million members.)
For the first several years, the program has been focused on passengers flying on U.S. carriers departing from domestic airports, though earlier this year, a host of international carriers including Air Canada and Aeromexico adopted the program for passengers departing from the U.S. Lufthansa will be the first EU-based carrier to do the same.
The carrier announced its intention to join the program through a prepared release late this week, saying “Lufthansa strives to maintain its role as one of the leading airlines in the aviation industry.”
Precheck passengers flying on Lufthansa started being accepted on August 31st. Like its peers, Lufthansa’s participation in the program means that passengers traveling on the carrier and departing from a U.S. airport with Precheck lines will be able to benefit from expedited screening. Passengers departing from ports outside of the U.S., such as from one of Lufthansa’s many hubs in Germany, however, are still subject to security screening native to the country of departure.
Despite the marginal value, it’s likely that many travelers, particularly those that fly often, will respond favorably to Lufthansa’s move. Multiple studies show that Precheck lines move faster and are generally shorter than standard security lines. If Lufthansa can save a passenger even five minutes between the airport curb and the gate, it may earn them a slight edge over the competition.