Sign up for TSA Precheck at some NFL games


Football fans fumbling over where to sign-up for the Transportation Security Administration’s security checkpoint shortcut program – called TSA PreCheck – can now take care of that task during NY Jets and San Francisco 49ers home games at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey and Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, respectively.

The NY Jets and the San Francisco 49ers are the first to partner with identity-verification company Idemia to bring the IdentoGO technology and the PreCheck verification program to sports stadiums.

In the next few weeks, more sports teams are expected to join the program, which also provides some biometric-based technology that can enable ‘trusted fan’ programs to be deployed at some stadiums.

For now, Jets fans (ticketed or just tailgating) seeking to enroll in PreCheck will find a branded IdentoGo recreational vehicle parked at the MetLife entrance (between parking Lots E and F) on game days.

San Francisco 49ers fans on the west coast will need to be ticketed for the day’s home game to access the IdentoGoRV, which will be parked along the vendor-rich “Faithful Mile” (at the Green Parking Lot 1- Gate C).

Applying for TSA PreCheck costs $85 (and is good for 5 years) and the in-person ID verification process can take place at 44 airports, Virginia Department of Motor Vehicle offices or at a wide out-of-airport IdentoGo locations

But signing up at these football stadiums will come with a small bonus.

In addition to the time-savings for sports fans, those who sign up at New York Jets home games will receive a $20 gift certificate that can be used inside the stadium towards beer, food and merchandise. Fans who sign up at either stadium will also get an approved clear plastic bag that can be used to take items in the stadium.

The San Francisco 49ers PreCheck sign-up program kicked this past this weekend, but response to the program at NY Jets home games has been so positive that IdentoGo had to scramble to double on-site enrollment capacity after the first game.

 Who gets your $85 and can you skip that fee?

 According to TSA, the $85 fee a traveler pays to apply for the PreCheck program breaks down this way:

The vendor – IdentoGo is currently the exclusive provider of TSA PreCheck – gets $34.50, which TSA says, is used for staffing, leases, infrastructure, web, network, materials, equipment, mobile events, call centers and other services for the all the application sites around the country.

Later this year or next, TSA says it plans to issue a request for proposals from other companies that want to bid to provide this service.

$12.50 is the FBI’s Fee.

The balance of the fee goes to TSA, which uses its portion for administration of the application program.

For those who would like to avoid paying the fee, there are about a dozen credit cards (including selected brands of American Express, MasterCard, Visa and Diners Club) that offer a fee credit for the TSA PreCheck (and Global Entry) program and several airlines and hotel brands, including United Airlines, Hilton, IHG, Marriott and Carlson Rezidor, that allow members to pay for the program with mile or points.

(A slighty different version of my story about sign-ups for TSA Precheck extending to NFL stadiums first appeared on CNBC.)

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Twitter throwdown for Seattle & Green Bay Airports

Giant Super Bowl Football

As you might imagine, excitement is rising in cities that still have football teams in the running for this year’s Super Bowl.

And as Sunday’s game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers gets closer, hometown pride is in strong evidence on the Internet, where Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and Green Bay’s Austin Straubel  International Airport are engaged in a good-natured Twitter throwdown that includes smack talk and a bet that involves cheese, coffee and team jerseys.

Here’s some of what played out on Thursday.

Both airports took a time-out Thursday night and will no doubt be back on the field on Friday. Stay tuned.

(Disclaimer: I live in Seattle. So, Go Seahawks!)

Airports score touchdowns with football fans

GAMECOCKS souvenirs

For most airports, the holiday season is the most hectic and festive time of the year. But in many communities, the terminals also dress up for the college football season. Here’s how airports around the country accommodate traveling fans with football fever:

In South Carolina, Columbia Metropolitan Airport considers itself Gamecock Country. “We have a phenomenal relationship with the University of South Carolina football program and see many Carolina fans in Gamecock gear come through the airport to attend games throughout the season. On big game weekends, fans will arrive in groups and the PA announcements from the head football coach, Steve Spurrier, will sometimes elicit loud cheers,” said airport spokeswoman Kaela Harmon.

Auburn University football fan at BHM Airport 2011

At Alabama’s Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport (BHM), airlines take on several charter flights to accommodate football teams and fans for the Blazers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the Crimson Tide at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, and fans of the Auburn University Tigers.

The recent success of the Crimson Tide has been a boon for the airport. “We have had up to an additional 27 flights added to our regular flight schedule during the national championship game,” said airport spokeswoman Toni Herrera-Bast. “Some fans leave the evening before to arrive at their destination in time for kick-off then turn back around after the game and come home,” and during last year’s national championship game the airport brought in musicians to play for passengers while they waited to depart for the big game. “We also had mini cupcakes with the university’s emblem waiting for fans in baggage claim area after the win,” said Herrera-Bast.

During college bowl game season, plenty of football fans wearing team shirts and hats promoting their alma maters can be spotted in the terminals at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. “It creates a fun, festive atmosphere and airport employees really enjoy it,” said PHX spokesperson Julie Rodriguez. “One memorable moment occurred after a game in the Bowl Championship Series a few years back when fans for the winning team were having the quarterback for the losing team paged. We have both audio and visual paging, so the name was displayed on monitors throughout the terminal,” said Rodriguez.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, fans from five major league sports team and two major college football teams pass through Oakland International Airport (OAK) and the airport serves as the official hometown airport for Cal Athletics from the University of California at Berkeley.

The airport has a multi-year partnership that extends through all 29 University of California at Berkeley Athletics programs with a specific emphasis on football.

During the current football season, the airport has fixed, video, animated and rotational signage, announcements and promotions, and in-stadium game offerings that include “Tweet-to-Win” promotions for flights from Oakland to destinations as diverse as Las Vegas and Aukland.

Of course, it’s not just college football that brings fans to and through airports around the country. Plenty of fans travel for NFL games too.

Indianapolis International Airport, which had more than 500 aircraft on the ground during the Super Bowl in 2012, also gets quite busy during the annual NFL Scouting Combine.

“We see a spike in charter and general aviation traffic and have extra volunteers, welcome tables and live entertainment in Civic Plaza for arriving guests,” says airport spokesman Carlo Bertolini.

Green Bay Packers cheesehead

At Austin Straubel International Airport (GRB) in Green Bay, Wis., every TV in the terminal is tuned to football whenever the Green Bay Packers are playing and the gift shop does a brisk business selling foam cheese heads, T-shirts, can cozies and “everything else in stock that screams Packers,” said assistant airport director John Reed.

Delta, one of the commercial airlines serving Green Bay, switches from regional jets to larger A-320s for the morning departure slots after each game and during important or playoff games the airport hosts hundreds of private and charter jets. “We close taxiways during heavy games to allow for parking of aircraft,” said Reed.

In addition to rental cars, there are two bus lines, plus taxi and limousine companies providing game transportation to and from the stadium.

“Here at the airport we hope for wins every day,” said Reed, “Because that means more people flying in to Green Bay. And that’s serious business for our community.”

(My story about airports and football fans first appeared as my “At the Airport” column on USA Today)