The Basics

A Small Change that TSA Could Make that Would Be Great for Precheck

TSA precheck
Written by Charlie

If TSA made this small change with some checkpoints, it could make things great for a lot of Precheck customers that are currently only getting a fraction of the value offered by the Precheck program.

I still think that Global Entry and TSA Precheck are two of the best programs around – better even then some frequent flyer programs! I cannot begin to tell you how much time they have saved me over the years and I would not dream of letting those lapse.

A Small Change that TSA Could Make that Would Be Great for Precheck

The Problem

But, when traveling from smaller regional airports or on airlines that are serviced from smaller terminals at larger airports, it is very often to find the Precheck line closed. This can be a huge inconvenience, especially when you have your carryon packed in a way for being used to Precheck (since you don’t have to take electronics out at Precheck). It can also be a big inconvenience if you are taking off from a terminal with many international flights at the same time.

TSA’s Partial Solution

What TSA does in these situations is to give you a laminated card (like an orange card) or they stamp your boarding pass to let the agents at the scanners know that you are Precheck. When this happens, you can leave your shoes on and go through the metal detector instead of the body scanner.

But, you still need to take liquids, laptops, and other large electronics out of your carryon. As someone who always travels with a healthy supply of electronics, this is never something I enjoy doing (I was recently traveling with a 22″ monitor in my carryon!).

My Suggestion for the Change

So, what small change could TSA make to help these situations be better for the Precheck customers? Simple – have those cards available to put in your bins. These could be put in your carryon bin by the agents or handed to you when you finish the ID check.

Make them visible for the x-ray machines and now the agents would know they are examining a bin with bags belonging to a Precheck customer. This way, you could leave all your liquids and electronics inside the carryon and the only thing that is different about this is that your wait may be longer in line than in Precheck lines.

Makes It Easier for Precheck Customers In Any Line

This would also work great for those airports with huge Precheck lines but smaller Priority lines. I often look longingly over at those Priority lines and consider jumping to them instead but I don’t because I don’t want to take stuff out of my bags. If Precheck passengers could still get that same treatment at regular lines with special cards (that they already give you at many airports now), I think it would make Precheck customers happier when traveling out of small regional airports or from terminals without a constant Precheck line.

What do you think? Do you have another solution that could be helpful with these situations?

Courtesy Arina P Habich, via Shutterstock

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • Yes! It seems like PreCheck is closed 80 percent of the time that I go through the Southwest terminal at LGA. While leaving shoes on is nice, I would much rather not take out all of my electronics.

  • Great idea except quite a few PreCheck passengers that receive a card don’t hold on to them while in line all the time. They either toss it aside or give it to a fellow passenger. It still would be difficult for the TSA officer to tell who is qualified for PreCheck if the passenger misplaced the card or handed it off to another.