News and notes from Hartsfield-Jackson, the world's busiest airport

TSA: Travelers less likely to get expedited airport screening without PreCheck membership

The Transportation Security Administration has ended a practice of randomly directing some  passengers at airport checkpoints to expedited screening lanes, reducing travelers' chances of winning the speedy-security lotto.

TSA offers expedited screening lanes through its PreCheck "trusted traveler" program, which allow travelers a chance to keep their shoes, jackets and belts on, and to keep their laptops and permitted liquids in their bags.

It costs $85 to apply for the program. Those interested in joining TSA PreCheck can start the process online and schedule an appointment to submit fingerprints, documentation and payment at an airport application center.

But some travelers had been randomly selected for expedited screening, even if they were not in the PreCheck program.

That practice, called "Managed Inclusion II," has come to an end.

Yet there's still a chance that some non-PreCheck members may get some form of expedited screening in certain instances, particularly during peak travel times when TSA is trying to manage long lines.

TSA said it will "continue to offer expedited screening to certain travelers who have been pre-screened by TSA canines."

TSA administrator Peter Neffenger said in an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution last month that the agency planned to stop directing travelers who are not enrolled in PreCheck to use the expedited security lanes.

"Overall, the agency is now moving toward offering TSA PreCheck expedited screening only to trusted and pre-vetted travelers enrolled in the TSA PreCheck program," according to TSA.

Those who originally opted into PreCheck through a frequent flier program and others without a “Known Traveler Number” who want to continue to use expedited screening lanes can enroll in TSA’s PreCheck or one of Customs and Border Protection’s trusted traveler programs called Global Entry, SENTRI or NEXUS ($50 to $122.25).

Certain credit cards, including some American Express cards, reimburse the cost of TSA PreCheck or Global Entry.

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About the Author

Business reporter Kelly Yamanouchi covers airlines and the airport.