It sounds too good to be true, breezing through airport security in a matter of seconds, but Tuesday, several hundred passengers at Charlotte Douglas International did just that. The airport opened the new TSA precheck lane at checkpoint “B.” It's the 18th location to open in the country.
Frequent flyer Dan Trotta spends a lot of time in the air.
"I travel every week, just about,” Trotta said.
But time spent waiting in security lines, just got shorter. Trotta was one of the initial passengers to go through the new TSA precheck lane on Tuesday morning.
"It was fabulous. I've been waiting for this the whole time. Not to take off your shoes, your belt, so quick. It was great,” said Trotta.
Eligible participants are vetted, and if accepted, the precheck line involves a metal detector instead of a full body scanner, and passengers do not have to remove liquids, laptops, shoes, belts or jackets.
"TSA precheck enables us to focus our resources on those passengers who can pose the greatest risk to security, including those on the terrorist watch list, while providing expedited screening and perhaps a better overall traveling experience to the lower-risk travelers through precheck,” said Mark Haught, Charlotte Federal Security Director.
But being accepted into the precheck program does not mean you will always go through that line. It is a part of TSA's layered security approach.
"So one day you may come in, you present your boarding pass at the document checker, and they may see embedded in your boarding pass that you've been randomly selected for full screening, so there's still a random process to the precheck program,” said Haught.
Haught says TSA is moving away from the "one size fits all process" created when TSA was first set up.
"So we're moving forward into that risk-based intelligence screening process and we hope to continue that as we go forward,” said Haught.
And passengers say they are appreciating the difference.
"We can't have a world class city without a world class airport, and when you have these kinds of services, to me, that's what makes living here great and I think we're just going to continue to grow,” said Trotta.
TSA plans to open 17 additional precheck locations at airports around the country this year, for a total of 35 locations.
For individuals who enroll through Global Entry, there's a $100 fee, which is good for five years.
For more information about the program, or if you'd like to apply, go to http://www.tsa.org/what_we_do/escreening.shtm