Wait Times at U.S. Airport Security Are Down 64% As More Travelers Opt for Pre-Screening

TSA plans to ease restrictions on the 3-ounce liquid limit in carry-ons, starting with PreCheck travelers


Everyone’s least favorite part of air travel—the security check—has become a significantly quicker process, a TSA official told the Chicago Tribune, and it’s all thanks to more travelers taking advantage of the TSA PreCheck security program.

TSA PreCheck allows travelers who are considered “low-risk” to go through a quicker, less invasive security checkpoint. Travelers hoping to use PreCheck must apply and go through a pre-screening process that involves a background check and fingerprinting. Once approved, travelers can use the expedited security lane each time they go to a U.S. airport. The PreCheck lane allows those low-risk travelers to keep on belts, shoes and jackets and they aren’t required to remove liquids or electronics from their bags.

According to the TSA, almost half of all U.S. airline travelers who traveled this summer used PreCheck, which meant shorter lines for everyone. The increasing interest in the PreCheck program is a sign that "pre-screening is becoming the norm," wrote the Chicago Tribune.

After the increase in the number of PreCheck travelers, wait times at security checkpoints were down 64 percent across the board, when compared with last year. TSA Administrator John Pistole said that wait times are now typically less than 20 minutes, a big improvement.

Pistole also told the Tribune Editorial Board that the current restriction for carry-on liquids (the 3-ounce limit) isn’t a permanent measure. Exact dates and details for the repeal of the rule were not specified, but Pistole said travelers who have been pre-screened will likely be the first to experience the eased restrictions.

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