Next week, Aspen’s airport will become one of about one hundred in the country to allow expedited passenger security screening. The Transportation Security Administration, TSA, will accept Aspen travelers into what’s called a pre check program meaning they can go through security check lines much faster. APR's Roger Adams reports.
“And pre check is a pre-authorized access to the security checkpoint. Somebody whose been deemed a low risk traveler doesn’t get quite as intense a screening meaning they can go through the line quicker.”
Jim Elwood is Aspen Pitkin County Airport Director. Since 911, air travel has involved the tedious process of security checks and long lines. Then there was the shoe-bomber and another layer of checking. Under pre check, travelers who qualify would, for example, not have to take off their shoes. That alone has slowed checkpoints.
“And you add to that, pull the laptop out of the sleeve in your computer bag and bring the liquid, gel and aerosol bag out and put it a tray. Each one of those components I not only irritating to the customer but, it also takes time.”
To qualify for pre check status travelers must submit to background checks and pay a fee of eighty-five dollars. Once cleared pre check status is valid for five years. At less than 20 dollars a year the program will appeal most to frequent fliers. Elwood says it is a step by the TSA toward less intrusive and more streamlined security procedures at all airports.
“At some point, and I’m going to offer a little editorial here that, you know, its not really reasonable to expect to look at every individual with the same amount of intensity. The resources aren’t going to be there and its not very efficient. So, instead of looking for a needle in every haystack you’re looking for a needle in a haystack that has a greater probability of having something. And, I think that’s kind of where the TSA is taking us.”
The pre check program will launch at Aspen’s airport a week from tomorrow. Details on how to apply for pre check status are HERE.