TSA continues to trumpet Pre-Check boondoggle

Feel-good articles about the TSA’s Pre-Check program continue to proliferate. Even as Pre-Check members report experiencing what we’ve been warning about for a year.

To recap: Pre-Check is a program in which you are supposed to get expedited screening in exchange for paying an extra 85 bucks and giving the government more private information about yourself. “Supposed to” is the operative phrase there. (And it’s still, as I’ve said from the beginning, ethically indefensible: it’s the embodiment of “All Animals Are Equal But Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others.”)

Because, as we’ve pointed out many times, Pre-Check doesn’t guarantee anything. You aren’t guaranteed expedited screening. You might not have to take your shoes off, you might not have to take your jacket off, you might not have to take your laptop out, you might not get scanned, you might not get groped. Might. The TSA’s own policy states that everyone, including Pre-Check members, can still get “randomly” pulled aside for whatever kind of search the TSA wants to do:

“No individual will be guaranteed expedited screening.”

In addition, Pre-Check works only with certain airlines, at certain airports. So even if you manage to get expedited screening at one airport, you might not get it at another. The airlines, in other words, are complicit. This system rewards — or tries to reward — frequent flyers. It’s about money, not security.

TSA has relied on airlines to nominate PreCheck candidates from among their best customers. Because not all airlines participate, and some consider frequent-flier information secret, a passenger qualifying under one airline can’t use PreCheck if flying another carrier. Agency officials said they don’t have the technical capability now to create a clearinghouse that might resolve the roadblock.

Nevertheless, people continue to sign on in the hope that they’ll be spared the TSA’s abusive practices. And they continue to discover that they can’t. People like Ann Azevedo, who posted this comment at a USA Today story on Tuesday, October 16th, at 8:27 am:

I am a member of TSA Pre, yet 40-50% of the time I am “randomly” deselected and sent through full security screening. Nice when TSA Pre is allowed, but I am really pretty upset about how seldom I’m allowed to use it!

There goes her $85 down the drain.

(Photo: Images_of_Money/Flickr Creative Commons)

  • boboadobo

    security theater and civil rights aside.
    the fact the average IQ of the burger flipping rejects “working” for the tsa is around 60…it boils down to the fact that the TSA is just a bunch of rag tag creeps in blue uniforms…hence the tsa are the Nazis in blue.

  • Mycatsmean

    My Pre-check status is a byproduct of my enrolling in Customs’ Global Entry program. So my $100 buys me quite a bit when travel outside the USA. But I almost never see a TSA Pre-check lane. And when I do, I’m usually randomly de-selected.

  • BeeKaaay

    This is part of a government that exists only to benefit cronies and not the ordinary people.

  • Susan Richart

    Don’t forget, Pre-check doesn’t work for international flights.

    • cjr001

      “Don’t forget, Pre-check doesn’t work.”

      Fixed that for you.

  • Bob