BY: Andrew Colton, Editor and Publisher
BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — We like to pile on as much as anyone else in the media when it comes to the TSA — the Transportation Security Administration. And let's be honest: there is often a lot to criticize.
But I have been blown away by two TSA experiences in the past two weeks. Blown away in a good way.
Last year, as part of a credit card promotion, I went through the process of joining Global Entry, a program that — simply put — expedites passport control upon re-entering the United States. Several months ago, Global Entry participants were welcomed into a program known as TSA PreCheck. It's supposed to expedite the security process for travelers who are willing to let the government look into their lives — officially.
PreCheck is only available if you are flying on a handful of airlines from a handful of airports. Just because Delta utilizes the system in Fort Lauderdale, for example, doesn't meant that Delta uses it in San Jose.
It is somewhat the luck of the draw.
But United at Newark International does and — wow — how thrilled I was to see the “precheck” logo on the electronic ticket that appeared on my iPhone. Upon seeing the logo herself, a TSA rep directed me from what seemed to be a 30-minute wait in one line at Newark to another line with no wait. I was ushered through — without removing my belt, shoes, or emptying my bag.
It was like traveling pre-9/11. The whole process took seconds.
It brought a level of civility back to flying — and is a major step in the right direction.
On a second occasion — last week — I had reason to travel AirTran from Baltimore's BWI. No TSA PreCheck for AirTran, but a lesson about just how unintelligent people are.
The TSA line was a solid 20 minutes at a main entrance point, where no one seemed to see a huge sign that read: “Try our new security lane just 100 feet away.”
I opted to do so and found a completely empty, fully staffed checkpoint. It took roughly two minutes to clear.
It's not the TSA's fault if people can't read, but shows yet again that the TSA is at least trying to make things better at various airports through various programs.
We'll continue to criticize the TSA when there is reason to do so, but it's important to give a patdown on the back when one is due.
Nice job, TSA. Nice job.
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