Would You Sign Up For TSA PreCheck If It Was Cheaper?

Image courtesy of Quinn Dombrowski

The Transportation Security Administration continues to try to wriggle itself out of the tough spot it’s found itself in, with passengers, airlines, lawmakers, and airport officials chiming in on excessively long wait times at security checkpoints in our nation’s airports. In an effort to cut down those lines, the agency has been trying to push more people to enroll in its PreCheck Program — but is the cost keeping travelers from signing up?

The idea here is that if there aren’t as many people taking out their toiletries, removing their shoes, or getting out of their jackets at security, lines will go much faster.

But some in the industry say enrollment isn’t where it should be because many folks don’t want to pay $85 it costs for five years of membership, Bloomberg notes.

What does that pay for? TSA gets $38, and the FBI gets $12.50 for handling the criminal background check performed on applicants. The fee covers the federal agencies’ costs and there are no profits, a TSA spokesman told Bloomberg.

Dropping the price and simplifying the application could mean more people sign up, which could mean shorter wait times, the U.S. Travel Association, a nonprofit group, said Thursday.

The group based that claim on a survey of 1,000 domestic travelers conducted March 7-10. Out of those, 20.5% said they’d enroll in PreCheck. Of the rest, half said the $85 fee was the reason they’d likely not sign up.

“We have this sneaking suspicion that there is some price sensitivity,” Jonathan Grella, an executive vice president with the travel group, told Bloomberg. “We’re not sacrificing security for efficiency … we can achieve both aims,” he said. “We believe that PreCheck, and trusted traveler programs in general, hold the key to mitigating this challenge that we have.”

As it stands now, Grella says the associations chats with TSA indicate a lower fee is being considered.

“They seem to buy into the concept that a price adjustment would make a big difference, so that’s good news,” he said.

Would a cheaper fee make you change your mind? Vote in our poll below.

Is the TSA’s $85 PreCheck Program Too Pricey? [Bloomberg]

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