There is good news from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for more than a quarter of U.S. fliers.
Roughly 450,000 passengers a day will be eligible for special treatment (or as we like to call pre 9/11 treatment) as existing programs are expanded to include a random selection of passengers considered to be a low security risk by the TSA. Meaning your shoes, coats and computer will remain untouched. This a huge bonus for busy business travelers who are often slowed down by security checkpoints
The “chosen ones” will be selected for an expedite service and will not be required to provide any personal information outside of what they provided when they booked their flight.
“To do this, the government and TSA are collecting no new information,” said Joseph Salvator, the TSA’s deputy assistant administrator. “Everything we’re using to make these risk assessments is information that the passengers currently provide the TSA, which is name, date of birth and gender.”
There will be no indication to passengers prior to collecting their boarding pass, or in cases where the designation has been coded, when the present their boarding pass at a security checkpoint. Fliers will be directed to a line currently reserved for members of the Global Entry Program and the TSA’s Pre-Check program, and individuals who are frequent fliers, members of the military, as well as passengers older than 75 or younger than 12.
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Carry-on luggage will still be required to pass through X-ray machines and passengers will still go through metal detectors, but the most frustrating part of going through security like removing your shoes or taking your laptop out of its bag, will not be enforced.
The TSA plans to have the program in place by early October, thankfully before the busy holiday season where airport foot traffic heavily increases.
The worldwide Global Entry Program and the domestic Pre-Check Program requires fliers to submit applications and fingerprints, which has been a huge area of controversy as some critics call it invasive. However, those passengers are eligible for the expedited lines most of the time.
The expansion of the new program to select low-risk passengers aligns with the goal of the TSA Administrator John S. Pistole’s goal to redirect the agency’s focus toward those that pose the greatest threat.
“It’s our philosophy that one shoe size doesn’t fit everybody,” Salvator said. “When TSA was stood up after 9/11, we treated everybody the same. We’re trying to move off that model and use a risk-based approach and the intelligence we have developed over the years.”
Hopefully this will be a small step toward a less frustrating future for all passengers.
Photo credit: Ints Vikmanis / Shutterstock.com