TSA pre-check suffers from low enrollment, looks to rebound

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FORT MYERS, Fla. – TSA has set a goal of enrolling 25 million flyers in the agency’s pre-check program, but it could take more than four years to reach that goal at the current rate of enrollment.

Roughly 26 percent of all passengers at Southwest International Airport used the pre-check program between late January to late February, according to officials. The program risks becoming a waste of resources when few passengers use it because less TSA agents are available to operate the standard lines.

Despite its benefits, some passengers said they are not willing to pay the $85 fee for five years in the program.

“I haven’t signed up for it because when I called to sign up, she said nothing’s guaranteed,” one passenger said. “So why would I spend the money if I’m not guaranteed?”

Martin Robinson, TSA federal security director, said education is key.

“I still don’t think enough people know about it. As we get the very busy season going on, more and more people realize when they see pre-check people being pulled out of line, they ask about it. They want to know how to sign up,” he said.

One worry is that if more passengers avoid enrollment in the pre-check program, security lines will be longer during the upcoming summer travel season at the nation’s busiest airports.


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