A tweak to TSA PreCheck eligibility criteria means several million US citizens, US nationals, or lawful permanent residents can now gain access to fast-tracked screening at no cost to them. Holders of an active Transport Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) or a Hazardous Materials Endorsement (HME) can use those credentials to access TSA PreCheck when taking a flight.
TSA Executive Assistant Administrator for Operations Support Stacey Fitzmaurice said;
“This new benefit immediately allows nearly 3.5 million individuals to obtain TSA PreCheck at no additional cost beyond what they have already paid for their credentials.”
PreCheck is a popular expedited screening program
TSA PreCheck is a popular expedited screening program. There are now over 10 million members. At more than 200 airports around the United States, those passengers leave can their laptops in their carry-on. They can also have a 3-1-1 compliant liquids and gels bag in their carry-on. Plus, passengers can leave their shoes, light outerwear, and belt on.
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TSA data indicates that late last year, 93% of PreChecked travelers passed through airport screening processes within five minutes. Those without the tick of approval took an average of 23 minutes to get airside.
“That process is quicker so, while sometimes it will look like the lines are longer in a PreCheck line, those lines are actually moving a lot quicker than it looks,” says a TSA spokesperson.
All of the major carriers in the United States participate in the program. Many other airlines based in North America and around the world have also joined the program.
TWIC and HME holders already passed security assessments
Holders of valid TWIC and HME clearances can now enter the identification numbers printed on those credentials during the airline booking process. HME holders enter the two-letter state abbreviation and CDL identification number from their state-issued commercial driver’s license in the appropriate known traveler number (KTN) box. TWIC holders enter their TWIC credential identification number (CIN) in the known traveler number box.
The TSA says holders of TWIC and HME clearances have paid for and passed a security assessment similar to applicants for PreCheck. TSA PreCheck is a popular alternative to Global Entry. PreCheck is also cheaper. Usually, a PreCheck, valid for five years, costs US$85. But, as the decision to grant PreCheck to TWIC and HWE holders indicates, many people manage to get it for free.
Standard applicants usually need to attend an in-person appointment at an enrollment center. The process includes fingerprinting and a background check.
PreCheck opens up some extra benefits
From a traveler’s perspective, the critical advantage of programs like PreCheck is the reduction in screening to board a flight. It makes life easier in airports around the United States. PreCheck also works in some neighboring territories (Guam, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands). But here are a few hidden advantages.
Having a KTN, a vital part of the PreCheck tick of approval, can see you fast-tracked into concerts, sporting events, and music festivals.
This decision by the TSA is a nice perk for holders of TWIC and HME credentials. It saves them money and will make their life easier when flying.