- Posted July 7, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
My Discovery Of TSA Security Gaps
Earlier this year I travelled on a US domestic flight and was surprised to discoverI had been granted TSA PreCheck without any application process. TSA PreCheck enables eligible US Citizens to speed through airport security in a priority lane, and without the requirement of removing laptops, belts and jackets.
When I had a look at http://www.tsa.gov/tsa-precheck/faqs I noticed that there is a long list of eligible customers, but all are US Citizens. And even then, there must either have been a formal invitation or application process to be granted PreCheck.
I am an Australian and United Kingdom dual citizen. Earlier this year I flew from Seattle to San Francisco on Virgin America flight VX 755. Because I rarely travel to the US, this was my first US domestic flight. I was aware of TSA PreCheck, but never considered it because I am not a US Citizen. But the strangest thing occurred when my family and I received our boarding cards. I noticed that I, along with 3 of my family members, had been granted TSA PreCheck. Meanwhile, the 3 others in our same booking did not have TSA PreCheck. None of us are US Citizens. None of us had received any invitation. None of us had filled out any application whatsoever. Now, the only thing I considered was frequent flyer status as a reason. I, personally, am an Elite Silver frequent flyer with Singapore Airlines, and so is my sister. We both had our numbers attached to our booking. However, my sister did not receive TSA PreCheck. Two other passengers in our booking did receive PreCheck, but only had the standard Singapore Airlines status. What was really confusing, was that the final passenger in our booking who received PreCheck had no frequent flyer number attached to the booking. So, one traveller (with elite frequent flyer status) received PreCheck, one other with elite status DID NOT receive PreCheck, two travellers with standard status received PreCheck, one traveller with no frequent flyer status DID receive PreCheck, and two others in the booking who had no status also DID NOT receive PreCheck.
TSA PreCheck is for people that the TSA know, are US Citizens, and are easily deemed low-risk. Whilst my family and pose no risk, I do not understand how this has occurred. Why are the TSA giving PreCheck to non-US citizens who have not filled out any application or been invited? The TSA has no idea who we are, yet grant us PreCheck. This is major security gap. Anyone, from any country, can potentially be given PreCheck, a privilege for only known travellers.
The TSA, I believe, should review the PreCheck process. Unknown travellers should not be given less security screening, especially in a nation where aircraft security is taken so seriously.
TSA PreCheck is a wonderful system for those who travel often, but should not be utilised if a threat is being posed through a massive gap in the process.