Airport screening and security checks are a necessary evil on every trip you take out of the country.
Although this is an important process to protect passengers, the delays and process often are a cause of frustration for fliers. In some cases, this requires a pat-down which some passengers find uncomfortable.
But what if you could pay a fee to avoid the long lines, full-body scan and physical search?
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is offering a new service, the PreCheck, to cut the queues and create a new revenue stream in the process. For "trusted" travelers, a payment of $85 will allow you to not only avoid taking off your belt, shoes and jacket, but also leave liquids and electronics in your carry-on luggage.
The TSA PreCheck scheme begins this fall. Once you have filled out an online application, verified your I.D. and been fingerprinted, you need to send off the fee. Once complete, the TSA will issue you a "Known Traveler Number" that can be input when booking a flight -- allowing you to skip the line for five years.
The TSA scheme can be used when traveling on Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways and Virgin America. Eventually, the opt-in airline list will be expanded.
Although this scheme may help cut down queue time and frustration at security, the TSA makes it clear you're not completely exempt. The agency still holds the right to "incorporate random and unpredictable security measures" if necessary.
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