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Other passengers have criticized the service for being available only to those who can afford the $85 fee. Plus, it doesn’t speed up the rest of the experience — from navigating the airport to crowded parking lots. In March, MSP officials bumped up the recommended amount of time to show up before a trip by half an hour — 2½ hours total before the flight — in part because of the increase in people traveling and the decrease in the number of federal agents checking passengers due to budget cuts.
TSA officials said Wednesday that PreCheck isn’t guaranteed and that random exclusions are just part of ensuring safety. And if the service were free, it would have to be supported by taxpayers.
‘This is so easy’
For frequent fliers like Scott Maier of Chicago, the $85 fee is a small price to pay for shorter lines when he’s flying twice a month between Chicago and Minneapolis for work and visiting family.
“I saw I don’t have to take stuff out and thought, ‘Where do I sign up?’ ” he said as he waited to sign up at the airport’s PreCheck center. “I can cut it a little closer” when arriving at the airport.
Byrne, of Minneapolis, and her husband were also sick of the long lines as they travel many times a year to their second home in Orlando. Before flying there Wednesday, Byrne’s husband, Joe Oberzut, waited 30 minutes to apply for PreCheck. But Byrne said it was worth it for them both to be able to access the express line.
“Otherwise, I’d be on my third cocktail before he’d get through the line,” she said. “At the Orlando airport, it’s a zoo, so this is kind of key. This is so easy.”
Kelly Smith • 612-673-4141