Chattanooga Airport Needs To Upgrade Its TSA PreCheck Benefits

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Dear Mr. Jacobson and Mr. Hart, 

I am a lifelong Chattanoogan who enjoys traveling. Since the birth of my toddler son in April 2016, my husband and I have been frequent patrons of the Chattanooga Airport for almost all of our flights, both business and pleasure, as this saves us time and is very convenient. In fact, our 22-month-old son has flown 24 segments with us in his short life--almost all of them originating from CHA. Due to our frequent travel, we recently made the decision to invest in TSA PreCheck. 

With that being said, I want to encourage you to offer the full TSA PreCheck benefits at the Chattanooga Airport. The laminated notecard waiver to keep your shoes on is not cutting it, especially in a metropolitan airport that is rapidly growing and constantly competing with ATL, BNA, or even BHM. Allow me to explain. 

On Friday, March 1, I was traveling alone with my toddler son from CHA to Sarasota, via ATL on Delta. As a young mother traveling solo, I was already nervous, and your TSA crew did nothing to help. With my son in a small umbrella stroller, I was instructed to remove both my laptop and his iPad from my backpack, remove him from the stroller, collapse the stroller (with both hands, forcing me to put my child on the ground), put the stroller on the scanning belt, remove my small lunchbox of baby food liquids (and then having them rescanned and tested), all while trying to corral a very mobile child in the crowded security area. Your crew did not honor my request to have the stroller hand-scanned so that I could keep my toddler in arms and avoid collapsing it to scan on the belt.

Most of this hassle could've been avoided if the full TSA PreCheck benefits were honored in CHA: electronics and liquids could've stayed put, thus allowing me to simply place my backpack on the scanner intact. If allowed to do this, I could have focused on my child and made sure we were securely checked in an efficient and orderly manner, so as not to slow down the line for other passengers. 

After spending an unnecessary amount of time chasing my toddler, gathering our belongings and putting all of the pieces back in their proper place, I approached one of your TSA agents and asked why the full PreCheck benefits were not honored here. Her response: "Because [they] don't want to invest in the proper security measures necessary for PreCheck and take up extra space." 

Mr. Jacobson and Mr. Hart, the time is now to invest in these modern conveniences for the CHA airport. Chattanooga is growing, travel through CHA is up 56 percent since 2013 (per the most recent comment in the Times Free Press article, dated March 5, 2018). The article also states that 75 percent of those travelers are business ones, likely with laptops and tablets, who have also invested in PreCheck status. Please make the proper investments and upgrade your TSA PreCheck benefits.  

Thank you for your time and consideration. 

Elizabeth Griffin 

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