NYT Journalist: People Are Waiting In Long TSA PreCheck Lines As A Status Symbol

Nikole Hannah-Jones, who was responsible for the controversial New York Times’ “1619 Project” which argues that the real founding of the United States happened when the first slave arrived in Virginia in 1619 and not in 1776, tweeted Monday about inequality at the airport.

The Pulitzer Prize winner, who argued when Russia invaded Ukraine that Europe isn’t a continent and much of the reaction was racist dog whistle, found herself at the Martha’s Vineyard airport reporting that people there were so status-obsessed that they wouldn’t use the regular security line and were willing to wait in a longer PreCheck line.

Her message is that people who summer on Martha’s Vineyard are willing to wait to have their status recognized by TSA security screeners.

The oddness of complaining about inequality from inside the Martha’s Vineyard airport aside, what struck me about this is that I did not think Martha’s Vineyard airport even had PreCheck?

When I visited Martha’s Vineyard last month I took the ferry in both directions and I didn’t visit the airport. Perhaps I need to update my priors? But if there’s PreCheck at this airport with just a couple of gates I can’t find reference to it.

So I’m confused. Perhaps someone that’s been to Martha’s Vineyard Airport more recently than I have can enlighten me? At most they have a line for PreCheck that leads to the same regular security lane, meant to give line priority to those with PreCheck? (That would undermine her argument since using that line would still get someone screened first.)

Update: this appears to be the setup – a separate priority line for PreCheck passengers, leading up to the single security lane (a single TSA employee checks IDs for both lines, and both lines filter to the same single screening line). It used to be that the airport had just a single line for everyone, but now has a separate line for those with PreCheck to give them faster access. It is possible that the ID checker might not give those in the PreCheck lane priority, but that’s the reason for the offering the separate line.

I’m also not sure what a ‘packed’ screening line would like like at an airport with a couple dozen flights a day, including Cape Air Cessnas and Tradewinds flights to Teterboro, and where the largest aircraft is still a regional jet.

In any case I have seen times where PreCheck lines were longer than regular ones (not often, but I have seen it). And I’ve seen where first class check-in had a longer line than regular economy check-in. I’d absolutely wait in a slightly longer PreCheck line because

  1. each person in the regular line takes longer to process through the checkpoint.

  2. I’d avoid having to take out my liquids and laptop and take off my shoes.

That just makes sense, though the second reason doesn’t apply where there’s a blended line. The point is that TSA PreCheck is faster and easier than regular security even when the regular line is a bit longer, and if there’s social commentary to offer it’s about the shoe carnival that most passengers are forced to go through – while what’s “bougie” is complaining about inequality while flying in and out of Martha’s Vineyard airport to begin with.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. the nytimes is full of fake race-baiting haters like Nikole Hannah-Jones. it is quite a distinction to be among the worst of the worst at the new york times

  2. Ha, Martha’s Vineyard, the summer hangout for many ultra-liberal Democrats with dog whistles; whereas, Nantucket is definitely the hangout for Democrats with more common sense.

  3. Gary,

    I’ve seen this a few times in a number of situations – my wife doesn’t have PreCheck (working on getting her signed up), and I do.

    1) We have split up at the security line, and she has gotten through security first a few times (even after having to remove shoes)

    2) This is a big thing with CLEAR – often I approach security lines where the “Clear” check in process has five or 10 people, TSA precheck alone has one or two people ahead of me, and the “regular” check in line has zero passengers. This can happen in off hours even at airports as big as LGA and LAX.

    Basically PreCheck and Clear are very useful when regular lines are packed, but they can actually slow down getting through security during off hours.

  4. In most airports, I have found that when I go through a “regular” TSA line or Priority line, but have my TSA Precheck stamped on the boarding pass, I am told I get to keep my shoes on, but still have to take electronics out. On the topic of liquids which Gary mentions, regardless of which line I pass through, I haven’t been asked to take those out or received secondary inspection for failing to take those out anywhere. That seems to have gone by the wayside. Are others experiencing something different ?

  5. 1)given thehistory of the authors tweet?…grain of salt

    2)@David Stone

    “Whence”=from..

  6. @ Gary — I will stand in the longer TSA PreCheck line (to a point) in order to avoid the annoying security procedures (laptop, liquids, shoes) of the regular line. Would I wait an extra 20+ minutes? No.

  7. @darkstar…

    iPhone dictation be damned! Gary pls enable edit feature to avoid embarrassment.

  8. I think it is punishment enough that this lady has to go through life seeing the world through this warped lens.

  9. I’m just wondering why the post started this way:

    Nikole Hannah-Jones, who was responsible for the controversial New York Times’ “1619 Project” which argues that the real founding of the United States happened when the first slave arrived in Virginia in 1619 and not in 1776, tweeted Monday about inequality at the airport.

    The Pulitzer Prize winner, who argued when Russia invaded Ukraine that Europe isn’t a continent and much of the reaction was racist dog whistle, found herself at the Martha’s Vineyard airport reporting that people there were so status-obsessed that they wouldn’t use the regular security line and were willing to wait in a longer PreCheck line.

    It could have just started “Nikola Hannah-Jones found herself at the ….”

    But perhaps the point of the unnecessary to the point of the post, which some people actually responded to (PreCheck advantages even if line is slightly longer), was to encourage other types of responses.

  10. @jsm – I think Gary started with that to give context that this person has a history of shouting at the wind.

  11. @Rob — you are a dolt. Gary makes money from this website. Evidently, he’s determined that racist content, and the comments that follow from his racist readers, make him money that he is willing to earn. That’s pretty shameful, if true. Gary, will you donate the value of all impressions to this article, to the Black Lives Matter movement?

    Gary, your own anti-Blackness comes through loud and clear, from this article and many others you have written adjacent to the topic of race and privilege. You obviously know this is wrong. But why do you so blatantly post this kind of stuff and accept the comments that follow? We all know you delete a number of types of inappropriate comments on this blog. You allow racist screeds from your racist readers, why?

    Why not denounce them all?

    Why pounce on the minutiae of the musings of a person of color? At least you’ve somewhat admitted to being wrong in the Martha’s Vineyard airport not offering PreCheck.

    Do you understand, Gary, that BIPOC people have a difficult time being heard and accepted because they are subject to ignorant and prejudiced scrutiny such as the microscope you imposed on the Martha’s Vineyard airport PreCheck situation?

    The right thing for you as a Rich White person is to AMPLIFY BIPOC voices. Not tear them down.

    Please read White Fragility, and How To Be An Anti-Racist.

    You can take steps to become an ally to BIPOC, instead of accepting racism which does make you as bad as the overt racists in the comments here.

  12. When I show up at any airport, I’ll always pick PreChek … not because I care if the locals are impressed with me, but because of my shoes, belt, laptop, 3oz goodies and whatever stuff I don’t even remember. I don’t ever want to go through that foolishness again, I’d rather clear security with some of my dignity intact … so 10 extra mins in a line wouldn’t bother me a bit.

  13. @Olaf U. Fokker-Sergei – if you’re going to throw around an accusation of racism you have a responsibility at least to say specifically what you believe is racist. What on earth in this post is racist? I’m serious.

  14. @jsm – “I’m just wondering why the post started this way:”

    Because if I started “Nikola Hannah-Jones found herself at the ….” most readers would have no idea who that was. I identified what she’s primarily known for among general audiences (her 1619 project, and for those unfamiliar, what the basic thesis was)

  15. Why would anybody call 1619 project participant a “journalist”? Everything she produces is a propaganda at best or straight out lie. Why would anybody seriously discuss what this propagandist disguised as journalist writes? Or to cite NYT, for that matter, like it’s legitimate news source and not propaganda rag?

  16. 3 racist things about this post

    1. As @jsm pointed out. Negative charged introduction of a Black woman. You obviously have disdain.

    2. Skepticism of PreCheck at MVY. Turns out it exists. Black women commonly suffer the racist behavior of white people who apply disproportionate scrutiny.

    3. Aiding and abetting racism by posting content that you know would attract the types of anti-Black comments we are seeing above. And, not deleting those comments.

  17. PAE Paine Field, north of Seattle, has a blended PreCheck line. Both lines merge to one screener. PreCheck people keep shoes on.

  18. I used to think CLEAR was a waste of money but half of DEN had PreCheck, so got to stay ahead of the provincials when I visit my provincial family

  19. I’ll take PreCheck every time rather than go into the Chamber of Horrors. In the few times when I’ve won the “randomly selected” theater ticket I refused to enter even when the TSOs lied and claimed it will be a long wait. And then it’s fun to grin widely and relax while they go through the motions of embarrassing themselves. One guy lost it and had to be relieved when I sighed happily. If enough people a day did this these monstrosities would soon be gone.

  20. @ Gary Leff

    “if you’re going to throw around an accusation of racism you have a responsibility at least to say specifically what you believe is racist. What on earth in this post is racist? I’m serious.”

    Responsibility? Perhaps, Gary, that if you’re going to write an article, that you should make at least some attempt to ensure that your content is responsibly crafted rather than lobotomised for maximum shite stirring – i.e. is accurate, balanced, fair, non discriminatory.

    When I first read the article above, I had no idea who NH-J was, or the 1619 Project, which she initiated. Why are you even bothering to write this article?

    Yeah – the way you described her, she sounded really dumb. How could anybody argue that the USA was founded in 1619 and not 1776? How could a geographical continent, such as Europe, not be a continent? How could anybody be so stupid as to make a joke about people preferring TSA PreCheck security lanes on Twitter with a social status angle in a small airport without a TSA PreCheck lane?

    Yeah – what a big laugh we’re all having at the silly women’s expense. Cue the predictable dumb mob of right wing twits, incels and Madhatters. Another good job done by the “Thought Leader”.

    But…a few minutes research exposes your lack of responsibility:

    1) Your shitting on a masters-level educated highly awarded (black) writer advocating a point of view about the relevance of the history of slavery to the American narrative (whilst accepting you mention the Pulitzer – but you could have presented a balanced introduction on this person)
    2) Your are misrepresenting the core mission and ignoring the contribution of the 1619 Project (which even its expert critics have acknowledged) (you could have presented an accurate two-liner on the Project)
    3) You have incorrectly asserted that there were no TSA PreCheck Lanes at the airport anyway (a mistruth in an article which you have finally had to retract realising that a key construct for your derisory attitude depended on your erroneous assumption).

    Irresponsible stuff, Gary. Seriously.

    @ Olaf and @ JSM are entirely correct to call you out.

    At least you were forced to correct you own errors on this occasion.

    One can but hope you are familiar with the original Ida B. Wells.

  21. @ Tim Dunn

    “Olaf, for the benefit of yourself and society, get help.”

    Your posts are usually highly erudite and well reasoned. WTF, mate?

  22. @ Gary Leff

    “Because if I started “Nikola Hannah-Jones found herself at the ….” most readers would have no idea who that was. I identified what she’s primarily known for among general audiences (her 1619 project, and for those unfamiliar, what the basic thesis was)”

    And there’s your problem, Gary – you’ve pitched your article to the right wing trolls and racists who are vocal on your blog, by the way you introduced the person and one of her contributions.

  23. @Gary, Terminal F (International Terminal) in ATL only has “real” TSAPreCheck during limited hours. But if you have to go through security during the off hours and have pre-Check, you get in the single line that feeds to the ID checkers where you get a cardboard card which you carry which allows you to keep your shoes on, not have to take out your zip lock bag with liquids, or take out your computer. Almost like real PreCheck, except you have to go through the same line to the ID checkers and then the same line for the Xray/scanning machines as the regular folks. It’s a good system. The only drawbacks are if there is a long line getting to the checkers who give you the card you card to identify you as a PreCheck as you go through the machines or if there are non frequent travelers in front of you through machines, they may slow things down sorting their stuff or making errors and getting yelled at.

  24. This was quite the dog whistle blog piece. 😉

    Is Europe a separate continental tectonic plate and landmass, or is it a quasi-peninsular fixture to the Eurasian landmass?

  25. @GUWonder, you are right about the geography, of course. From a geographical point of view, it’ hard to see why the Urals form a dividing line between continents, as we identify them, if the HImalayas and Rockies don’t. We call South Asia a “subcontinent”‘; maybe that’s a suitable term for Europe too. An observer from outer space would never count continents as we do.

  26. @platy – no, to a general public not necessarily familiar with an important public intellectual who plays fast and loose, and the core mission of the project is hardly misrepresented – indeed it claims the revolutionary war was fought to protect slavery which is irresponsible history in the extreme

  27. @Olaf U. Fokker-Sergei – If you think a ‘negative introduction’ (I note she has a Pulitzer! It’s her work that’s quite negative) is racist then you are extremely myopic. I was correct that there is no PreCheck offered at MVY, just a blended lane, and her argument about people being status-focused using the line that for people entitled to PreCheck that blends into the single screening line is wrong, how on earth is being skeptical of PreCheck at MVY racist? Seriously..?

  28. Job smacked that folks are actually willing to defend pseudo-intellectual Nikole Hannah-Jones, and her absurd “1619 Project” – absurd not as a thought experiment, but absurd because she is unwilling to make that clear once she saw schools actually using it as history.

    The United States was founded in 1789. It banned the slave trade a mere SEVENTEEN years later .. the first nation in all of human history to do so. It managed to ban slavery itself in each of its sovereign States within two generations, despite not having Constitutional authority to do so. (When the slave trade was banned, abolitionists disbanded because it was assumed it would peter out naturally .. but they did not consider that because US Christians, unlike Arabs, Asians and Africans, were unwilling to castrate their servants .. and thus the slaves multiplied rather needing to be replenished as in the Old World. By the way this is also the reason academics predicted the institution would have collapsed by itself without the Civil War holocaust given one more generation .. as it had become a welfare state and slave old folks home that cost plantations more than it benefited.

  29. @ Gary Leff

    “no, to a general public not necessarily familiar with an important public intellectual who plays fast and loose, and the core mission of the project is hardly misrepresented – indeed it claims the revolutionary war was fought to protect slavery which is irresponsible history in the extreme”

    And that, Gary, exposes you outright.

    You fell right into my trap. (Just as I imagined that you would – you are such an easy toy to play with when you succumb to the right wing racist narrative in your pathetic attempt to solicit the braying brainless hounds who frequent your blog).

    You wrote this article because you have an issue with the instigator of the 1619 Project and disagree with one aspect of its proposal.

    Your article would be meaningless if the subject wasn’t black (clue – that’s what makes you a pathetic simpering racist – admittedly a tiny bit ore complex a revelation that @ Olaf’s obvious pitch).

    Your article would be inconsequential without the context of a writer espousing equality given opinions on the historical narrative of the most shameful aspect of your country’s history – slavery (my country’s too) (clue – it’s that that makes you a specious racist).

    You nudge-nudge-wink-wink (aka dog whistle), but ignore the core thesis of the 1619 Project (that there is an undeniable trajectory in US history and ongoing impact on US society derived from slavery, the treatment of black Americans (who only achieved a vote in my lifetime, possible yours as well) – that makes you a sad racist apologist and sad hypocrite.

    This is the Gary who cries foul when there is any suggestion of any Jewish discrimination (something about Lufthansa, yeah?) – and rightly so – BUT can’t project that delineation – in other words, a simpering hypocrite.

    And now you trying to back up – your article was largely based on false information about the security lines – FINALLLY having been called out for the factual errors in your articles that have previously refused to address or correct, you now need to correct your article.

    Common, Gary, tell us why the Project was wrong, can you add anything that wasn’t already articulated by the refutation letter of 5 signatories, the responses offered, etc., are you willing to accept the summary position of those dissenting authors that the core thesis was worthy?

    …probably…not….

    …c’mon mate, correct the record or forever be tarnished as the author as VIEW FROM THE RACIST RIGHT WING.. and that’s fine…just rename this blog – your blog, your choice.

    If you have anything salient to debate about the issues and ideas raised by the 1619 Project, then this is your moment – do it.

    Nah – too hard for the guy who gets even the basic data wrong in his articles – a lightweight commentator who has latterly been proven to have no original contribution, rather tempted by the sensationalist and un critical reportage.

    You are fucking it up, mate.

    Now go tell your partner that your contribution as a thought leader today was to incite racial hatred because you were too lazy to get your facts right and too racist to present a balanced viewpoint.

    Shame on you.

  30. Sorry, @Gary – I see some clowns like platy continue having verbal diarrhea. Just seeing his volumnous discharges (no one can read this crap and remain sane) makes me scroll down. Geez! Such a waste…this stuff will kill any civilized exchange of opinions.

  31. @Olaf – seeing racism everywhere is a clear sign of you being racist. Nowhere did @Gary introduced her skin color; you were the one who sniffed it.
    FYI, NHJ is a laughing stock of journalism (I hope you know that she didn’t get Pulitzer for journalism or reporting, but for “commentary), and many well-respected historians pointed to a number of mistakes in the scandalous and embarassing 1619 Project; I hope you also know that NYT quietly went to the published material on its site, and made “corrections” (e.g., changes).
    Over the years, woman has put herself at the center of plenty of controversies. She routinely attacks others, only to wipe clean her Twitter feed. She’s not to be trusted, and Gary pointed out to yet another ridiculous claim by her.

  32. MVY is so tiny (the picture even makes the check in area look bigger than it is), I can’t imagine Pre would make a difference, and I can’t even remember if it has Pre (or has one where they give you a card allowing you not to remove your liquids and laptops), since I have not flown there since pre-pandemic. I mean, when you are flying Cape Air, there is no crowd. The security line is miniscule, they only open it right before the flight, and it dumps you into a small room where you sit with another dozen people or so until walking out on the tarmac to your plane.

    But I have been in a few airports where regular security was shorter than Pre, and got in the regular line just to find that the Pre line moved so much faster that it would have been more efficient to get in the longer line. I had this happen at AUS.

  33. Everything I have read indicates that MVY has TSAPre, but as a BLENDED line. That means there is no separate line, it’s what @Arthur says, they hand you a card indicating your status of keeping your shoes on and keeping your liquids in. (Some still seem to require laptops out, I think it depends on the scanning equipment or alert status, but I may be wrong.)

    I would not put it past NHJ to mistake the blended line for the regular TSA Pre line, while she went through the VIP treatment, which she mistakes for the “regular” line.

  34. Just a comment on blended TSA-precheck lines. The security checkpoint at DFW E8 does this right. It has 3 lines, Clear, TSA precheck, and conventional. There are two X-ray belts available, but sometimes only one is working. The one on the left is for non-TSA-precheck, the one on the right is blended. They check your boarding pass at the X-ray, and have some X-ray blocks that change the screening move between TSA-pre and normal, and send the TSA-pre passengers to the magnometer as opposed to the backscatter.

  35. I really hope that more people read threads like these.

    If people believe in the view of Platy and others espouse, so be it.

    I do hope that many who hitherto are not familiar with CRT and Emotional Social Learning educate themselves of these views so that they can make a clear choice for the mid-terms and the direction this country should take.

  36. We don’t jail people with despicable opinions. Something some people should be eternally grateful for.

    I do wonder how she keeps a job though – she hasn’t produced more than one piece for the NYT in over a year, I believe. I wonder if she was the “senior” person Bari Weiss referred to in the Tim Scott interview?

  37. The people who tend to be dismissive of the existence, extent and harm of racism directed at large groups of ethnic and/or religious minorities are more typically defending their own racist preconceptions and are comfortable in their own racist skins and thus come out from the troll holes when given the invitation to do just that. The comments in this dog whistle blowing blog article are yet another sign of the times.

    VFTW is more like the View From the Trump Wing when factoring in the dog whistlers and comments. But why should this be such a surprise, when the the Club of Growth type Republicans have been put in their place by Trump and the Republican Party which has since become the Trump Con-Man Party — as the traditional Republican Liz Cheney herself has sadly found out.

    It’s no joke when Michael Hayden correctly recognizes the Trump Party as the most dangerous extremist threat the US has ever faced. Timothy McVeigh super-charged by Trump and his destructive cheerleaders.

  38. The only people hearing “dogwhistles” here are the race-baiters. NHJ is not above criticism by virtue of her skin-color. It’s her ideas that are repulsive. And I would say that about Robin DeAngelo’s ideas as well, and she’s as white as this screen. There are plenty of black writers whose ideas I like, there are some I disagree with but still respect. Then there is the CRT crowd, who refer to them as “inauthentically black”, or worse. Guess who the real racists are?

    @GUWonder – I would bet a very large amount of money that you can’t tell me who I voted for in the last two presidential elections.

  39. Olaf

    You are the most racist human I’ve ever come across. If you’re real. All you do point out race, how boujee of you.

  40. @starlene -I’m beginning to think Olaf is a foreign troll. Posting here to create conflict.

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