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For Your Next Flight, Hope the TSA 'Randomizer' Puts You in a Faster Lane

Travelers wait in line to go through security in the departure hall at San Francisco International Airport
Travelers wait in line to go through security in the departure hall at San Francisco International AirportPhotograph by David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

When you want to get through airport security faster, the screeners have an app for that. To clear waiting lines more quickly, the Transportation Security Administration uses a “randomizer” app at about 100 U.S. airports to sort which travelers get directed into the PreCheck lane, the one where you don’t need to doff your shoes, belt and jacket.

The app is part of a risk-based approach called “managed inclusion” that the TSA began using last year and includes behavior-detection officers or canines on duty to smell for traces of explosives. (The agency says its dogs don’t sniff for illegal drugs.) In a much slower process, TSA agents also swab travelers’ hands or suitcases and run the tests through machines before letting passengers board.