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.