NEW YORK (AP) — It was supposed to be the answer to the long security lines at airports.
But four years after it was launched, the Transportation Security Administration’s Pre-Check program is still far short of enrolling enough passengers to make a difference.
Travelers who enroll in it are able to get expedited screening. Pre-Check lanes can screen 300 passengers an hour, twice that of standard lanes.
Partly because there aren’t enough travelers enrolled in Pre-Check, fliers can expect massive security lines across the country this summer. Airlines are already warning passengers to arrive at least two hours early, or risk missing their flight.
The TSA cut its airport screener staff by 10 percent in the past three years, anticipating that Pre-Check would speed up the process. When not enough fliers enrolled, the agency tried to make up for that shortfall by randomly placing passengers into the express lanes. But it recently scaled back that effort for fear dangerous passengers were being let through. That’s when the lines started growing, up to 90 minutes in some cases.