Joe and I have had TSA PreCheck since mid-2014ish. Well, we actually got Global Entry then and, of course, TSA PreCheck was included, just as it is now.
Anyway, for years after we got it, we’d go to our home airport of MCO and the only people on the TSA PreCheck line were us. Or maybe there’d be a small handful of people in front of us. Not many; just 2 or 3.
Times have changed and now there’s usually a queue of upwards of 10 people waiting to get their ID/boarding pass checked by the TSA officers, and then another 5 to 10 waiting to put their stuff through X-ray.
I just found out why.
Here’s the headline from a recent TSA press release:
TSA PreCheck™ reaches milestone with 10 million members
Well yeah, that’ll do it.
TSA PreCheck’s first enrollment center opened in December 2013 (there are now 400 enrollment centers across the country, including special ones like these) and it’s just been growing and growing ever since. Here’s how many people have enrolled over time:
- 1 million: March, 2015
- 2 million: January 2016
- 5 million: July 2017
- 8 million: March, 2019
- 10 million: March, 2020
So it took them just over a year to get their first million, and almost exactly a year to get their latest 2 million people signed up. Actually, according to the press release, there was an 18% increase in new memberships between March 2019 and February 2020, in comparison to the same time period the previous year.
Right now, people who use TSA PreCheck account for about 20% of TSA screenings. And you know there will be no slowing it down – especially this upcoming year, with the Real ID meltdown that’s going to hit in October.
To be honest, we’ve yet to have a wait for TSA Pre-Check that’s been really bad. That’s especially when you compare it to the wait for the regular, non-PreCheck queue, which can easily be 20, 30, or even 45 to 60 minutes during busy times. But while we still have CLEAR, we’ll keep using it, just to save us those couple of minutes.
Except CLEAR already has 5 million people enrolled, as per Bloomberg. And with all the ways you can get CLEAR for free or at a discount, that number is sure to keep rising, too.
I guess the good times couldn’t last forever, huh?
*** Feature image (cropped): David Prasad/flickr
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary