Computer doesn’t have to come out of the case (mine doesn’t normally, since I use a bag the TSA permits through the screener as-is anyway). Liquids don’t have to come out (I rarely take mine out anywway). Shoes stay on (hallelujah!) And most significantly, perhaps, there’s usually no line and even if there was the lack of a security theatre drill, let alone nude-o-scope to opt out of, means things move very quickly.
TSA’s PreCheck is like going through airport security before airport security was federalized. It’s a humane process. Not quite as civilized as going through security screening in Lufthansa’s first class terminal, perhaps (the screeners there assist me with my jacket). But it’s still… civilized, almost.
But even though PreCheck makes airport security so much faster to go through, I’ve argued that it’s actually useless because you never know in advance (without hacking the boarding pass, at least) whether or not you’re going to get to use it. And that means you still have to arrive at the airport early as though you won’t. So you get through security faster, only to have more time to kill on the other side int he gate area or airport lounge.
The argument, I guess, was that if you told terrorists in advance (you know, the people trusted enough to be given PreCheck in the first place!) that they wouldn’t have to take their shoes off that might encourage them to do somethng really bad. Like wear lace ups. And so the most awesome innovation in airport security since August, 2001 was hobbled.
It seems that limitation is changing, though, and according to Delta Points, Delta at least has been given permission to display on a boarding pass whether or not the person is eligible for PreCheck on a given trip. So when you check in (e.g. on your mobile or at home as much as 24 hours out) you will know if you qualify — and can make a judgment about whether to leave the airport later, not leaving a security buffer.
Of course being eligible for PreCheck doesn’t mean you’ll actually get it, the TSA reserves the right to deny it even when the three beeps happen when your boarding pass is scanned. And I’ve shown up in Miami only to find PreCheck inexplicably closed.
But this is still huge progress.