Travel Groups Push for TSA, PreCheck Revamps

The U.S. Travel Association, Global Business Travel Association, and other groups are calling for legislation that would revamp the technology used by the TSA, including an expansion of the popular PreCheck system.

The travel industry doesn’t like everything the U.S. government does, but it’s generally found a lot to love about the Transportation Security Administration’s PreCheck program, which allows some passengers to skip longer lines after going through a preliminary background check.

The program’s been going strong for about six years, but it could always be a little bigger.

And, as it turns out, that could be in the works. In September, the TSA Modernization Act, a bill with bipartisan support, was put forth in the Senate. The bill would both modernize the technology used by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and take steps to streamline PreCheck processes to get more people to use the service.

One limiting factor to the program’s appeal is that the background check requires an appointment and to put fingerprints on file; another is the requirement that applicants have two forms of ID on file, rather than just one. One idea put forth by the bill to help ease the complication of signing up for the program, per One World Identity, is an expanded use of biometrics technology by the TSA.

The revamp thus far has some fairly prominent fans. Last month, per Travel Weekly, a coalition of major travel trade groups—including the American Society of Travel Agents, the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), the International Air Transport Association, Travelers United, the U.S. Travel Association, and many others—made the case for expanding the PreCheck program in particular, noting that with its current structure, demand is outpacing supply.

In comments to the Washington Examiner this week, officials with GBTA and U.S. Travel spoke up on how legislation would help improve PreCheck’s shortcomings.

“One thing we would love to see and this legislation does include is kiosks at the airport that do all of the application process for PreCheck,” said Lorraine Howerton, senior director of U.S. Travel, in comments to the publication. “Currently as it stands, you have to go and get your fingerprint taken, and you have to look for a facility where you can actually do that. So, third parties involved in the process allows for flexibility in getting folks to sign up.”

GBTA Vice President of Government Relations Andrew Meehan shared the association’s view on the value of the program. “It’s always been a priority for GBTA to support PreCheck because it’s one of those things that increases security while at the same time facilitates travel,” he added.

(Grant Wickes/Flickr)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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