- REUTERS/Chip East
Airports and consumers are revolting against the Transportation Safety Administration as wait times to clear security skyrocket, leading to missed flights. The situation boiled over this weekend when passengers at Chicago’s O’Hare airport were left stranded after security lines exceeded three hours.
Of course, there’s a conspiracy theory for that. Gaining traction on forums like Reddit is the idea that the TSA is deliberately slowing things down to push consumers into its PreCheck program.
“TSA [is] blatantly extorting passengers into paid PreCheck program by under staffing TSA and causing ridiculous lines at airports,” Reddit user Zetavu posted on the website.
It costs $85 to $100 to apply for the TSA PreCheck program, depending on which level of clearance you apply for. Once you’re approved, you can bypass the regular security line at the airport and go through an expedited process. Travelers must reapply (and pay) every five years.
While there’s nothing to back up the claim that the TSA is trying to force customers into paying for PreCheck, the agency, which has blamed the longer wait times on staffing cuts, does tout PreCheck as a solution for consumers.
“We encourage travelers to enroll in TSA PreCheck or other trusted traveler programs such as Global Entry, Nexus, or SENTRI, which improve security and reduce wait times,” the TSA wrote in a statement to Business Insider last week. The statement was in response to news that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey threatened to replace the TSA with private contractors if wait times at local airports didn’t improve.