The criteria used to select PreCheck eligible passengers has been left intentionally vague. From what public reports indicate, TSA went to American Airlines and Delta and said "give us some names of your low-risk frequent fliers," i.e. members who were obviously business travelers. We're imagining that American and Delta then asked for permission to release that informationand least that better be how it happenedand then TSA compiled their lists. The agency then turned around and asked those fliers whether they'd want to voluntarily join the PreCheck program.
The PreCheck lines are still fairly new so details are scarce, and obviously TSA has an interest in keeping people guessing about security measures. The official press release says PreCheck passengers "will experience expedited screening" while still being subject to "random and unpredictable security measures." So you get to keep your shoes on, but you might still get pulled aside for happy patdowns, and the upshot is that you have to share a bunch of personal details beforehand? It'll be interesting to see if non-frequent travelers, who get less benefit from faster lines because they use them less often, will think the tradeoff is worth it. Or if they're ever even offered the chance.
Here's a CBS report on the program:
[Photo: CBS News]