Last updated: 04:14 PM ET, Sat June 18 2016

Frontier, Spirit To Join TSA Pre-Check

Airlines & Airports | Rich Thomaselli | June 18, 2016

Frontier, Spirit To Join TSA Pre-Check

PHOTO: Two more airlines are being added to the TSA PreCheck Program. (Photo courtesy oc TSA)

Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines are joining the 21st century.

The two budget carriers say they will join the Transportation Security Administration’s PreCheck program, which allows pre-qualified travels who pass a government background check to use their own security checkpoint designed to help speed the process.

The PreCheck program has about 3 million members, and Frontier and Spirit account for just a combined five percent of domestic airline travelers, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Still, in a year when TSA checkpoints have been deluged with travelers and forced lengthy and time-consuming backups a airports around the country, every little bit helps.

PreCheck is the pre-approved screening process in which passengers can pay a one-time fee of $85 to go through a government background check and a personal, live interview in order to gain expedited status that allows travelers to utilize a special line where they do not have to remove laptops, shoes, jackets or belts.

For airlines, it is a voluntary program to be a part of and most do it. But until this week’s announcement, neither Frontier nor Spirit had opted to participate, meaning its passengers couldn’t use TSA PreCheck even if they were part of the proram.

"When Precheck came out (in 2013), the TSA was charging airlines a very large amount of money for the privilege of using it. This adds a significant amount of money to each passenger's tickets,” Spirit spokesman Paul Berry told “Since most Spirit customers are very price sensitive, we made the decision not to participate in the program, so we could keep our fares low. The government recently stopped charging airlines to participate in Precheck, so we are now in the process of getting approval and getting our reservations systems updated so we can include Precheck in our bookings. It is not an easy process, but we expect to have this service available sometime this year."

Frontier expects to join the program by end of summer; Spirit by later this fall.

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