TSA PreCheck problems at RSW: A WINK News Investigation

FORT MYERS, Fla.- Is the TSA PreCheck program worth the extra cash?

For Debbie Shoemaker of Fort Myers, the TSA’s PreCheck program seemed like a great idea. All she had to do was enroll at Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW), for only $85, and skip the long lines.

“I have a medical condition that affects my feet, and I don’t enjoy taking my shoes off and having to walk,” said Shoemaker.

But Shoemaker says she was, “really surprised it was so poorly run.”

She waited hours last Monday just to sign up, with a group of about 20 to 30 other people, even though she had an appointment.

“They didn’t call names of people who had appointments, they just said next,” said Shoemaker.

Days later, it was the same case for Susan Basili, and WINK News Reporter Lindsey Sablan. She was never signed up.

Basili says she waited more than two hours, saying the wait would be worth it.

But many WINK News viewers say it’s not, if you’re flying mainly out of RSW, because the PreCheck lines are never open.

“I think they need more TSA agents. It’s frustrating, you work hard for your money,” said Cheryl Weaver, who is enrolled in the TSA program.

At 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, the PreCheck lines at RSW were closed. A spokesperson for the TSA says it’s about supply and demand. The PreCheck lines are open about 50 percent  of the time, based on peak travel times.

A disclaimer on the PreCheck website, says “no passenger is guaranteed expedited screening,” adding that not all airlines are enrolled.

As for the sign-up program itself, a TSA spokesperson says the enrollment office is run by a government contractor. They say they will look into the matter on behalf of WINK News. Sign ups will continue at RSW until Friday.

For more information and to sign up, visit: www.tsa.gov/tsa-precheck.

TSA Pre✓™ is a program that allows low-risk travelers to experience expedited security screening at participating U.S. airports. The program is open to U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. Applicants will need to provide documentation to confirm their citizenship or immigration status as well as provide fingerprints. Please visit https://www.tsa.gov/tsa-precheck/apply?gclid=CK3Ls_GCi8kCFdgTgQodBU4E4g for documentation requirements. Eligible persons can go through a pre-enrollment process on line at http://www.tsa.gov/tsa-precheck, make an appointment, and complete their enrollment at the enrollment location. Walk-ins are accepted. The program costs $85 for five years. Once approved, travelers will receive a Known Traveler Number (KTN) and will have the opportunity to utilize TSA Pre✓™ lanes at security checkpoints at more than 150 participating airports with 12 participating airlines.

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