After years of heightened security checks, in which all airline passengers had to remove shoes, laptops, jackets, and belts, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is slowly easing up on its policy.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and TSA Administrator John S. Pistole announced on Wednesday that the TSA would expand its pilot pre-screening program to include airports throughout the country.
The TSA Pilot Pre-check program launched last fall with American and Delta Airlines at seven U.S. airports: Dallas, Miami, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis. In that time the pilot program pre-screened more than 336,000 passengers.
The program will now expand to include passengers on US Airways, United Airlines, and Alaska Airlines and will expand this year to 28 airports, including Boston, Denver, Chicago, New York (JFK, LaGuardia and Newark), and San Francisco.
In order to participate, travelers would have to volunteer personal information before flying, and in exchange they may not have to remove items such as shoes, belts, or light jackets, or remove laptops from bags at security checkpoints.
"TSA Pre moves us closer to our goal of delivering the most effective and efficient screening by recognizing that most passengers do not pose a threat to security," Pistole said. He said it would help the agency go from a "one-size-fits-all approach to a more intelligence-driven, risk-based transportation security system."
Readers, what do you think? Is this a much-needed easing up of overly-strict screening rules? Or are we making ourselves more vulnerable by loosening up regulations?
Photo: Sam Beebe
via [Dallas News]
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