Back in April, frequent travelers living in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area got some good news when a TSA Precheck enrollment center opened at DFW Airport’s Terminal D. There was only one problem – the enrollment center was located BEHIND security, which meant if you had an appointment for a Precheck interview but weren’t flying that day, you had to take a printed confirmation of your confirmed appointment to the American Airlines ticket desk at Gate D30 for a gate pass. Then, AA in its infinite wisdom decided to stop giving out gate passes, leaving anyone with an appointment up a creek without a paddle, if you didn’t have a boarding pass or a connecting flight through the airport. That issue was apparently cleared up eventually, but still, the extra time required to negotiate TSA security was a PITA for locals taking time of work to go through the process.
The good news is, it turns out the enrollment center’s location was temporary. Per the Dallas Morning News Airline Biz Blog, a new enrollment center will open outside security, just to the north of AA’s ticket counters near the D22/23 security checkpoint, in early July. Frankly, the idea of a Precheck outside enrollment center inside security is absolutely asinine, but then again, this is the TSA we’re talking about. I’m curious how other airports house their enrollment centers. In any event, this is great news, and one less headache for local travelers wanting to sign-up for Precheck. For those unaware, Precheck is a TSA-administered program, whereby for a fee of $85, eligible travelers can keep their belts, shoes, and jackets on, and keep their laptops and liquids in their carry-on baggage, when going through security. Precheck lines also don’t contain the full-body scanners. BUT – and this is a big caveat – even if you have Precheck, the TSA can still randomly send you through the regular line involving a full-body scan or a groping, for your safety and security, of course.
I don’t plan on making this an opinion post on whether Precheck is worth the fee, or on the efficacy of the TSA’s screening process in general. You can find plenty of posts on both UPGRD and numerous other travel blogs on that subject. I’ll leave it to you, the reader, to decide for yourself whether Precheck is for you, but suffice to say, if you live in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area and have been thinking about signing up for Precheck, you now have one fewer obstacle to worry about. I will say, if you are considering Precheck, also consider paying the extra $15 and applying for the CBP’s Global Entry program instead. You get access to Precheck, but even better, you also get access to expedited CBP screening if you fly internationally.
Terminal D to Also Benefit from Extra Security Screening Lines
According to the same DMN blog piece, the relocation of the Precheck enrollment center will provide another ancillary benefit – space for two more lines at the D22/23 security checkpoint, bringing the total number of lines from 4 to 6. While extra screening lines are always a good thing, the impact is likely to be muted. In my experience, wait times at the D22 checkpoint are moderate, generally 10-15 minutes on average, with most of the wait caused by the slowness of the full-body scanners. Adding two lines won’t speed the machines up, but will increase throughput, promising a reduction in peak waiting times (early Monday morning is generally the worst at DFW). And always remember – there are a minimum of 2 working checkpoints in each terminal at DFW, so if the one you’re trying to use is backed up, just walk down the hall to the next one.