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Staff file photo / Travelers walk to the security checkpoint at Chattanooga Airport.

This story was updated Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, at 8:50 p.m. with more information.

With Chattanooga Airport passenger boardings notching another record in 2019, officials hope to coax the use of TSA PreCheck and speed more travelers through the security checkpoint.

Next week in the airport's passenger terminal, the Transportation Security Administration will offer fliers the chance to enroll in the program that lets people avoid taking off shoes and belts and waiting for inspection of their laptops.

"This is a means to spur further enrollment," said airport Chief Executive Terry Hart. "TSA would like to see the number of PreCheck customers grow."

According to TSA, 93% of PreCheck passengers waited less than 5 minutes nationally in December. Over 9 million people already use PreCheck, TSA said.

TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein said the so-called "pop-up" enrollment centers make it convenient for travelers.

"Because if someone is ticketed for a flight and going to the airport to catch their flight, it also makes it convenient for them to come a little early and use that time to apply for TSA PreCheck during that same trip to the airport," she said.

Through November 2019, Chattanooga Airport has boarded about 508,000 passengers, already surpassing the prior year's record of 504,298, Hart said. Traffic was up about 10% through the first 11 months over 2018, he said.

TSA PRECHECK

Enrollment will be offered next Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Chattanooga Airport’s passenger terminal.

December figures aren't in yet, Hart said, but he expected boardings at least to hit 550,000 passengers for the entire year.

According to the airport, enrollment will be offered next Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. in an office adjacent to the information desk between the rotunda and baggage claim.

Applicants need to bring proof of identity and U.S. citizen documentation such as a passport or birth certificate and drivers license, according to the airport.

The application process will be completed onsite where fingerprints will be captured for a background check and fees will be collected. The fee is $85 for five years and can be paid by credit card, money order, company check or certified or cashier's check. Cash and personal checks won't be accepted.

Applicants must pre-enroll and secure appointment dates by visiting www.identogo.com/precheck.

Hart said that as many as 30% of the airport's passengers already have PreCheck status. The program is key for business travelers who frequently fly, he said.

TSA began offering expedited screening in Chattanooga late last year.

Chattanooga, unlike some other airports, doesn't always offer a dedicated lane for PreCheck fliers. Hart said that at times, one of the airport's two screening lanes is dedicated to PreCheck. At other times, TSA has procedures in place do "a blended lane" of PreCheck and other fliers, he said.

"We'd love to see more people take advantage," Hart said.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.

 

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