TSA Pre-Check is one of the greatest things to happen to the US flying experience in years. For those of you not familiar with TSA Pre-Check, it allows select passengers to go through an expedited security screening whereby they don’t have to take off their shoes or light jackets, and don’t have to remove liquids or electronics from their bags. You know, it’s basically the security screening process minus the theater. 😉
Originally TSA Pre-Check was only open to those in the Trusted Traveler program, which includes those with Global Entry, NEXUS, etc. However, over time they began allowing others in the Pre-Check line as well. I sort of get it from their perspective — ultimately they can’t be pouring a lot of resources into a small percentage of passengers, so by opening it up it was more justifiable.
That really bothered me, not from a safety standpoint, but rather from an experience standpoint. At first the benefit of Pre-Check was twofold:
- You didn’t have to take off your shoes, light jacket, or take out your electronics or liquids
- Equally importantly, you were in line with other experienced travelers, which made the line move more quickly
But then when they started letting in random people that didn’t know “the drill,” which held up the line. They would take off their shoes and take out their laptops, which made the lines even longer.
So I was thrilled when the TSA announced in August that they would begin limiting Pre-Check eligibility. Not because I’d feel any safer on planes, but rather because it would make the process quicker.
However, CBS2 New York has one of the most sensationalist “investigative” pieces I’ve read about TSA Pre-Check. They seem to come to the same conclusion I do — that Pre-Check should be limited to “trusted travelers” — but for completely different reasons.
I mean, the whole article is so ridiculous that I don’t even know where to start. So how about at the beginning?
You expect that the person sitting next to you on a flight has been thoroughly screened like you have.
But that may not always be the case.
In a CBS2 exclusive investigation, Carolyn Gusoff found that the Transportation Security Administration knows all about this potential security threat.
“I didn’t have the screening that the others did, and walked right in,” traveler Eileen Gorkin said.
It’s hard to believe, in post-9/11 New York, that travelers could get on an airplane without the security rituals that many have come to trust, Gusoff reported.
Right, you “walked right in?” And by “walked right in” you mean that you still underwent the same screening every other passenger did, minus the “theater” aspect of it? But I guess they do address that, because they mention that travelers can get on the plane without the “security rituals that many have come to trust.” I suppose that’s true, some people do feel safer after having to put their shoes and cologne in a bin.
“I didn’t have to take my shoes off. I didn’t have to take my laptop out,” one man said.
No way!!! You mean kinda like how it works in the rest of the world?
Gomez too has been ushered through reduced security, and said the practice could give the wrong people bad ideas.
“Then terrorists could simply keep probing our security and say, ‘OK, statistically speaking, I will eventually get on the pre-check line, and I could then board with whatever explosive that I choose,” he explained.
Really, this is the feedback a former FBI agent has? That a terrorist looking to board a plane with an explosive would come to the conclusion that if they can access the Pre-Check line they can “board with whatever explosive” they choose?