Famous Last Words : The Selling of TSA PrecheckAugust 2014 By Denny Hatch
When the 9/11 terrorists struck, airport security changed dramatically. Travelers were urged to get to the airport four hours in advance of their flights.
A month later, I had to be in Chicago for the DMA convention. I wasn't scared of flying. With the increased security, this was probably the safest time to fly in the history of commercial aviation. However, I opted not to go through the airport check-in mayhem and instead bought round-trip Amtrak passage with a sleeping compartment.
How was it? In two words: damn pleasant. I relaxed, worked, ate so-so meals, read and really slept. The train was several hours late, but so what?
Although airport screening is far more organized now, it's still a nuisance. Whenever I go through the process, how I envy those perfect, practiced pirouettes performed by George Clooney in "Up in the Air."
New Senior Benefits: Smart Marketing
In its zeal to make traveling safer after 9/11, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) randomly pulled every Nth person from the line and did a random search. Old folks in wheelchairs, as well as small children, were patted down. The resultant publicity was disastrous.
So for those of us over 75, the TSA has lightened up the rules. Oldsters can:
• Leave on shoes and light jackets through security checkpoints.
• Undergo an additional pass through Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) to clear any anomalies detected during screening.
On several recent flights, Peggy and I found ourselves in the new TSA Precheck program line. It has even looser rules.
For years, Peggy and I were road warriors. We flew a lot and never made trouble. Presumably, some database recognized us as no threat. So maybe the Feds were giving us a free sample of TSA Precheck. Not only did we have to go through fewer hassles, but also the TSA Precheck lines were a lot shorter.
TSA Precheck Website
The Homeland Security folks wanted to sell us on joining TSA Precheck. I went online and discovered if we visited any of 250 application centers nationwide, filled out an application, showed some government ID, gave them fingerprints and parted with $85, we could be part of the TSA Precheck program.