TSA Lines Mostly Faster over Memorial Day Weekend, But 0 Wait Time for PreCheck Trumps Other Options
If you found yourself waiting on line at an airport security checkpoint over Memorial Day weekend, you probably don’t have PreCheck, the Transportation Security Administration’s trusted traveler program.
While the TSA and U.S. airports were bracing for long lines, those enrolled in PreCheck and the Department of Homeland Security’s Global Entry program, which includes access to PreCheck lanes, found little if any wait time.
FBT Editorial Director Jonathan Spira reported that he thought he might have to wait for one passenger on the PreCheck line at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport’s Terminal F, but that the passenger had disappeared by the time he reached the document checker, resulting in no wait time at all. This appeared to be the norm for PreCheck over the holiday weekend.
Frequent Business Traveler staff visited multiple airports over the weekend and found that passengers were experiencing little or no wait time to clear PreCheck while the wait time for the standard security lines ranged anywhere from ten to 45 minutes. The wait at Terminal 4 at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on Saturday was roughly 25 minutes while there was zero wait time at the terminal’s PreCheck line. The same held true Sunday in Atlanta. Still, the predictions of a security line apocalypse were somewhat premature and this could bode well for return travelers Monday.
In Atlanta, officials were expecting the airport’s busiest day ever yet reported that lines moved faster than in previous weeks. The same held true at many airports throughout the country.
“I don’t know why everyone who can hasn’t signed up for PreCheck,” a senior TSA manager at Terminal F in Atlanta, who was not authorized to speak to the media and asked to remain anonymous, told Frequent Business Traveler Sunday. “Just look at that empty PreCheck line and how long the regular line is.”
The TSA still tried to do its part to speed things up for those not in PreCheck. Extra staff were assigned to screening duties at many airports and, at a few, the TSA used bomb-sniffing dogs to check shoes, which meant that those passengers didn’t have to remove them before going through a scanner.
(Photos: Accura Media Group)