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TSA PreCheck Enrollment Offered In Missoula

TSA's PreCheck program allows some travelers a qicker path through airport security.
frankieleon (CC-BY-2)
TSA's PreCheck program allows some travelers a qicker path through airport security.

If the thought of enduring another crowded, slow airport security line makes your skin crawl, the Transportation Security Administration’s new PreCheck program might be worth looking into.

"It allows passengers to leave on their shoes, their light outer jacket and their belt. They can also leave their laptop in their carry-on as well as their liquid gels and aerosols. It’s a really streamlined trip through the security checkpoint.”

That’s Montana TSA spokeswoman Lorie Dankers. She was in Missoula Monday to help usher in a two-week PreCheck enrollment period at Missoula International Airport. It started as a pilot program in select cities back in 2011.

"It was so wildly popular with passengers TSA began expanding it to more and more airports."

If there are enough eligible PreCheck passengers on any given flight, an expedited security lane opens up for them. That can save some valuable time.

"At larger airports – Salt Lake City, Denver, Sea-Tac – you literally will save 10, 20, sometimes 30 minutes just by being in the TSA PreCheck lane.”

To participate in PreCheck, travelers must pay a non-refundable $85 fee. They also have to be ready to verify their identity with a driver’s license and certified copy of a birth certificate. A valid passport covers both those requirements. If approved, the enrollee is good to go for 5 years.

Missoula Airport Director Chris Jensen went through the process in front of reporters Monday morning.

"It took maybe 5 minutes. Most of the information is input just through your passport. It’s easier than any DMV process you’ve ever been through."

TSA notes it incorporates what it calls random and unpredictable security measures throughout airports and no one is absolutely guaranteed expedited screening.

Since January, TSA PreCheck has been offered on a temporary basis in Bozeman and Kalispell where over 1,700 Montanans have enrolled.

Enrollment at the Missoula airport is available through Friday, April 15.

For more information, visit the TSA PreCheck web page.