The Associated Press is reporting that TSA's PreCheck program is causing maddening long security lines at U.S. airports.
TSA's PreCheck security lanes can screen 300 passengers an hour, twice that of its standard security lanes. Based on that and other increased efficiencies, the TSA's front-line screeners were cut from 47,147 three years ago to 42,525 currently.
At the same time, the number of annual fliers passing through checkpoints has grown from 643 million to more than 700 million.
The TSA told Congress its goal was to have 25 million fliers enrolled in the PreCheck registration program, but as of March 1, only 9.3 million people had registered for PreCheck. TSA first tried to make up for that shortfall by randomly placing passengers into the express Precheck lanes, but scaled back that effort for fear dangerous passengers were being let through.
That's when the regular security lines started growing -- up to 90 minutes in some cases.
The TSA is now shifting some resources to tackle lines at the nation's biggest airports, but it claims there is no easy solution to the problem with a record number of fliers expected this summer.
To enroll in TSA's Precheck registration program, travelers must pay $85 to $100 every five years, then submit to a background check, in-person interview at an airport, and to being fingerprinted.
Unsurprisingly, getting once-a-year fliers to spend the time or the money to register has been a challenge.
While 250,000 to 300,000 people are registering for Precheck every month, it will take more than four years at that pace to reach the TSA's target enrollment.
AN airport in the UK has been accused of deliberately encouraging security lines to grow long to persuade passengers to pay a fee for faster priority lines.