Southwest Giving Out Points If You Have to Wait 10 Minutes at TSA PreCheck

Southwest is testing a new program to give out points if you have much of a wait at TSA PreCheck security screening.

Via Chris McGinnis they’re giving out 2500 points to anyone who reports waiting 10 minutes or more at PreCheck in the Oakland airport, and they are looking to roll this out more broadly.

Security wait times hurt an airline’s business for short haul flights. Having to get to the airport early means that total travel time can take as long or longer than driving. In the Northeast for instance Amtrak has taken a lot of business away from the airline shuttle routes between Boston and New York and between New York and DC just because of the need to turn up at the airport earlier.

So if airlines can convince you that total travel time is less than you think — a ‘security wait time guarantee’ — you may be more inclined to buy tickets for those flights.

This also gives the airline a strong incentive to press the TSA to staff checkpoints appropriately and streamline their process. Airlines are in a much better position to press for this than passengers.

For customers it’s worth knowing that no proof is required to claim your points,

[Chief Revenue Officer Andrew] Watterson said that when a passenger feels they’ve waited in the PreCheck line longer than 10 minutes, he or she should approach a Southwest supervisor and ask for a 2,500 voucher. “No proof of an extended wait is required,” he said.

The current Oakland test runs through June 29.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Absolutely NO proof required? I think I just stood in line in OAK. Oh wait, that was me driving to work…

  2. @MG, I agree. I live in ATL. BTW, I think this is on Delta’s radar screen. I just filled out a survey from DL that had a bunch of questions about wait times at TSA in HNL. So file a complaint at delta.com. As Gary said, the airline is in a much stronger position to complain to TSA than you or me.

  3. In my several recent experiences departing OAK, both T1 and T2, I’ve never waited at the Precheck line more than a minute, but, I can’t say that I’ve been there at peak-peak times.

    I read about this promo in an email from WN and thought “clever marketing by WN for themselves and OAK over UA/AS and SFO – free press because they won’t have to pay out much.”

  4. I use BOS Terminal C and the pre-check line is often worse than the regular one. 15-20 minute waits are typical. (To be fair, I mostly fly at peak times)

  5. Denver also has a highly variable pre-check line on _both_ sides. 90% of the time it’s short, but 10% of the time it’s out the building. Last week I flew out Thursday at 6 pm and the pre-check line was (a) longer than the regular line and (b) the elite line had 0 people in it. I made it through while the pre-check line literally had moved inches.

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