Transport Theory

TSA to expand pre-screening, cut down on airport security checks

TSA to expand pre-screening, cut down on airport security checks

Posting in Transportation

The Transportation Security Administration is set to expand its pre-screening program to 28 U.S. airports, where pre-approved passengers may avoid lengthy security checks.

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."

Travelers wishing to be part of this pilot program may apply at globalentry.gov. Once approved, the information would be embedded in the bar code on the passenger's boarding pass.

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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Channtal Fleischfresser

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Channtal Fleischfresser has worked for The Economist, WNET/Channel 13, Al Jazeera English, Wall Street Journal and Associated Press. She holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She is based in New York. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure