MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The wait at the airport is now a lot shorter for some passengers. The Transportation Security Administration is expanding its Pre✓™ Program to Milwaukee’s Mitchell International Airport.
TSA Pre✓™ is an expedited screening process that allows pre-approved travelers to get through the line quicker and with less hassle.
While TSA Pre✓™ is new in Milwaukee, it's been around at other airports since 2011. And frequent flyers who have used it before, said it’s about time it has expanded to Milwaukee.
“I love it. Absolutely love it. It's been a long time coming,” said frequent flyer Andy Park.
“I travel out of here all the time, so for me it's important,” said Joe Vlasak.
Not everyone knew it was coming though. Some passengers were chosen by their airlines, and didn’t realize they had qualified until they checked their ticket.
“I'm thinking how did I get lucky?” Kathy Fleege explained her thoughts when she was told she could go to the Pre✓™ line.
“We have a lot of faith and trust in the American public and our travelers, so it allows us to allocate our resources to look for those that might tend to do us harm,” explained Federal Security Director Louis Traverzo of the process.
Traverzo said it's a growing trend that has now come to Milwaukee.
“I get through quickly. I'm not taking off my shoes, I'm not taking off my belt, I'm not unpacking my water and all my toiletries. Everything still gets scanned. You just don't have to do all that extra stuff,” said Park.
Right now, the people using this process at Milwaukee’s airport are frequent flyers-chosen by their airlines. Another option is to enroll in the US Customs and Border Protection Trusted Traveler Program. It costs $100 for 5 years, but includes TSA Pre✓™.
By the end of the year, officials hope to have a third option available- an application process which will cost $85 dollars a year.
In the meantime, TSA officials tell travelers to check their tickets because they said soon they will randomly pick approved passengers to use this new line.
“We have a great amount of knowledge about the passengers that are going through our screening check point,” said Traverzo.
But just because a passenger makes it into the line, doesn't necessarily mean they will be exempt from the detailed screening process each time. There will still be random security checks. But, for many passengers it’s still a better deal than waiting in the usual lines.
Since October, 2011, more than 18 million passengers have experienced TSA Pre✓™ nationwide. It's currently available at 97 airports. 6 more are expected to be added by the end of the year.