ATL kicks off campaign to boost PreCheck enrollment ahead of busy summer season

Filed in News by on May 6, 2016

In an effort to enhance the customer experience at security checkpoints ahead of the busy summer travel season, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) has launched a public awareness campaign to boost enrollment in PreCheck, TSA’s expedited security screening program.

The move comes as passenger counts continue to soar at the world’s most traveled airport, and ATL weighs several options to alleviate checkpoint congestion.

For its part, TSA is adding personnel and installing new technology to address the long lines at ATL. Hartsfield-Jackson’s campaign simply pushes the effort into overdrive, urging trusted travelers to sign up for PreCheck, which can process passengers 2½ times more quickly than regular security lines.

Already, Airport representatives have started to drum up interest in the program – particularly among frequent business travelers – by speaking to area chambers of commerce, generating buzz on social media and even meeting with the region’s largest companies.

In fact, over the past two months, Department of Aviation and TSA representatives have met with executives at Havertys, Primerica, Rollins and Southern Co., and are scheduled to meet with leaders at Synovus, Invesco and Aflac. Soon, ATL will begin passing out PreCheck brochures at Airport information centers.

To support these efforts, Aviation General Manager Miguel Southwell has asked TSA to add signs directing travelers to PreCheck enrollment centers in the domestic terminal and on Concourse A.

Just two months ago, these centers signed up about 90 guests, on average, each day. In the past week, the centers have averaged 138 enrollments a day. To date, TSA has signed up 53,674 passengers at Hartsfield-Jackson. That is the highest number of enrollments of any other airport in the nation.

Still, local TSA officials want to boost that number. Depending on the success of its initial efforts, the Department of Aviation could roll out additional measures to help meet that objective.

After all, transitioning more pre-approved travelers from lengthy security lines to speedy PreCheck lines is a win-win for both TSA and ATL, especially as the Airport’s passenger traffic continues to swell. In fact, in TSA’s fiscal year ending September 2015, Hartsfield-Jackson’s traffic grew 10 percent over the previous fiscal year. As a result, several times throughout the day from May to October 2015, wait times exceeding 35 minutes were not uncommon.

TSA officials are quick to exalt the benefits of PreCheck, which include shorter wait times and the convenience of carrying – and wearing – personal items through security.

Atlanta area business travelers praise the time savings and convenience factor.

Resident Frank Paterno, an executive with Global Carriers at PGi, flies out of Hartsfield-Jackson two to three times a month for business trips. He joined U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Global Entry program four years ago and that automatically qualified him for TSA PreCheck.

Paterno says it takes him, on average, 10 minutes to get through the PreCheck lane, but time savings isn’t the biggest draw for him. He said he likes not having to remove his belt and shoes through security.

“You’re wearing a suit, and you don’t necessarily want to get undressed and get dressed back up again,” he said.

Studies reflect that positive sentiment. A study released this year by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) showed that overall, 66 percent of those who were enrolled in PreCheck were satisfied with security processing.

Fast facts about PreCheck

  • The program is available at more than 150 airports in 46 states with 13 participating airlines.
  • U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals and lawful permanent residents may apply.
  • Individuals can complete the application online (tsa.gov/tsa-precheck/apply) and make an appointment at an enrollment center. The application takes less than 10 minutes to fill out.
  • At the enrollment center, applicants must provide a current U.S. passport or a driver’s license and birth certificate. Applicants also must get fingerprinted and pay an $85 enrollment fee, which is valid for five years.
  • Approved applicants will receive a Known Traveler Number (KTN) via U.S. mail within two to three weeks.
To date, 53,674 passengers have signed up for PreCheck at the enrollment centers at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. That is the highest number of enrollments of any other airport in the nation. Still, TSA is hoping to increase those numbers as part of a PreCheck public awareness campaign.

To date, 53,674 passengers have signed up for PreCheck at the enrollment centers at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. That is the highest number of enrollments of any other airport in the nation. Still, TSA is hoping to increase those numbers. Photo by Shane Blatt

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