Travelers who use the TSA's Pre-Check program get to keep their shoes, belts and sweaters on and do not have to pull their laptops from cases or display their baggy of liquids as they hustle through special airport checkpoint lines. Their carry-on luggage still passes through X-ray machines, and they still must step through metal detectors. The TSA says that more than 25 million fliers have used the zip-through-security program since its soft rollout in 2011.
Now it is opening a registration Web site, sign-up centers at major airports and a few downtown locations nationwide, with the first at Indianapolis International Airport this week and one set to open at Dulles International before year's end. Opening the enrollment centers, 300 in all, will be a step toward TSA's grander plan to reduce the security hassle for low-risk passengers so workers can focus on those who give some reason for suspicion. The TSA says someone who shows up at an enrollment center will spend about 10 minutes (not counting any wait time) signing up for the program. It requires a background check, fingerprints and an $85 fee for a five-year enrollment. A passport, required for some other programs, is not necessary. Members will receive a "known traveler number" to provide to airlines when making a reservation. That makes the traveler eligible for the speedy line at 102 big airports or when flying with seven airlines, including all the major ones.