Participants in the TSA's PreCheck program must be invited and must agree to provide information to the government such as their flight history. PreCheck passengers still go through screening checkpoints but get a separate line and in most cases a streamlined process.
They can keep on their shoes, belts, and light coats at designated checkpoints, according to the TSA. They also can leave their laptops and liquids in their carry-ons when being screened.
"Good, thoughtful, sensible security by its very nature facilitates lawful travel and legitimate commerce," Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said.
The program is now used by eligible Delta Air Lines and American Airlines passengers at airports in seven U.S. cities, including Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Detroit, Atlanta, and Dallas. Participating passengers get a special bar code imprinted on their tickets and are directed to specific screening lines.
More than 336,000 passengers have been screened through the program, according to the TSA.
US Airways Group, United-Continental, and Alaska Airlines will join in participating in the program this year, according to a Homeland Security statement.
Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, Washington Dulles International Airport, and Boston's Logan International Airport - the three airports where the hijackers boarded the jets they used to conduct the Sept. 11 attacks - will get the expedited screening.
New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport and Salt Lake City International Airport in Utah will have PreCheck in place by the end of February, said Greg Soule, a TSA spokesman. Washington's Reagan National and Chicago's O'Hare International Airport will be added before the end of March, he said.
Sparing resources on trusted travelers moves the agency away from a "one-size-fits-all approach" to a more "intelligence-driven, risk-based" system, TSA Administrator John Pistole said.
PreCheck passengers proceed through the streamlined queues at the TSA's discretion. A fact sheet said the agency would always incorporate random and unpredictable measures "to prevent terrorists from gaming the system."
Among other airports where the program is expected to be operating by the end of 2012 are Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Denver International Airport, New York's LaGuardia Airport, Orlando International Airport, and San Francisco International Airport.
This article includes information from the Associated Press.