Web Exclusive: TSA expanding its program to speed up check-ins

Web Exclusive

(CNN) - More of the nation's air travelers will be able to take a "fast lane" through airport security.  It's all part of a new plan by the TSA to expand the Pre-Check program.

Keep your shoes and belts on and don't bother removing your laptop computer. Just leave it in your bag.  Those are just some of the perks the TSA will soon be offering more passengers.  

More than 15 million people have used the TSA's expedited screening program called Pre-Check since it started in 2011.  

"If they meet a certain eligibility threshold, their airline will contact them and give them the ability to opt into the program," says Jon Allen, TSA spokesman.

But by the end of the year, the program will go from 40 to 100 airports.  Passengers will also be able to apply directly through the TSA.  It costs 85 dollars for 5 years and requires U.S. citizens to verify their identity, undergo a background check and provide fingerprints at an enrollment center.  It sounds convenient, but the big question is does the expedited screening undermine security? One aviation expert thinks so.    

"To me, one of the greatest threats we have now is the person who has never crossed the line as far as the law is concerned. That has the perfect record, never gotten a traffic ticket, nothing, absolutely zero, that can pass this kind of a check with just a finger print and other information and 85 dollars," says Jim Tilmon, aviation expert.

The TSA insists the program improves security.  "We look at TSA Pre-check as an enhancement to security because it enables us to offer a benefit, expedited security, to those passengers we know more about and focus our resources more sharply on those passengers we don't know much about," says Allen.

The expansion is expected to kick off this fall.


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