Is the TSA’s PreCheck program ready for what comes next?

The TSA's "randomizer" in action at Orlando International Airport on Feb. 28, 2014. This iPad-based application sends roughly every third passenger to the faster Pre-Check line. The rest are offered given a conventional screening. If the arrow points left, it's your lucky day.
The TSA’s “randomizer” in action at Orlando International Airport on Feb. 28, 2014. This iPad-based application sends roughly every third passenger to the faster Pre-Check line. The rest are offered given a conventional screening. If the arrow points left, it’s your lucky day.

The Transportation Security Administration’s vaunted new PreCheck system, which offers selected air travelers access to expedited security screening, is hurtling toward its first big test: a crowd of spring break passengers, quickly followed by a crush of inexperienced summer vacationers.

Although the agency assigned to protect U.S. transportation systems says that it’s ready, some travelers remain unconvinced. They point to problems with the existing PreCheck procedures and their own often inconsistent experiences with them.

Here’s how PreCheck is supposed to work: Passengers pay an $85 enrollment fee and submit to a background check and interview. In exchange, they may receive a pre-9/11 type of screening that allows them to keep on their shoes, belts and light outerwear, leave their laptops in their cases and not remove clear zip-top bags of liquids and gels from their carry-on luggage.

Who would you ban from your car this summer?

lev radin / Shutterstock.com
lev radin / Shutterstock.com
I can’t remember the last time I asked you for help mediating one of my own disputes. But I could use a little help with this one.

We’re on a three-week road trip from Orlando to Philadelphia, with stops in the Florida Panhandle (we’re currently at the Holiday Inn Resort here) Atlanta and Washington. It’s all of us — two adults, three kids ages 6, 8 and 11.

Our “banned” list already includes any food that crumbles, particularly cookies and crackers. Our Hertz rental car would look like a federal disaster area, otherwise. There’s also a moratorium on loud toys, like my daughter’s stuffed bear that belts out Take Me Out to the Ballgame.

But we can’t agree on the music.

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