Boarding Pass Screening Tricks You Need To Know
What do we all enjoy more than a long boring line at the airport security checkpoint? Additional screening! Hooray! On a serious note, a TSA spokesman has given us all a little hint so we know if we’re going to have some intimate time with a screener. If you look down at your boarding pass and notice the letters “SSSS” then you’ve been selected for the TSA’s “Secondary Security Screening Selection.”
This selection process is done by a system called “Secure Flight” which throws names up against verified watch-lists and no-fly lists. Using only the full name, birthday and gender of the passenger, Secure Flight approximates high vs. low-risk passengers and selects them before they’ve even arrived at the airport.
While this is, unfortunately, a part of air travel that isn’t going to change anytime soon, you might be able to avoid everything by signing up for TSA’s Precheck program. It is eighty-five dollars for a five-year enrollment per person and can use the designated lines for Precheck enrollees only. If you have children under the age of twelve, they don’t need their own Precheck enrollment until they become teenagers. Many who use the Precheck program say that it takes half the time to get through security and it’s not nearly as much of a hassle as the normal bogged downlines. What are these perks you ask? With a Precheck enrollment, you won’t have to remove laptops, liquids from your carry-on, or remove any articles of clothing like shoes, belts or jackets. Sounds pretty great right? Right! The only issue is that as more and more people become aware of how great Precheck is, they’ll get bogged down as well.
Another program people are using to reduce wait time is the “Clear” program. While you still have to go through the normal security lines, this program allows you to be moved to the head of the line, by skipping the identification checkpoint. It’s not cheap to have your identity be “Clear” though, at a whopping $179 a year and only available at thirteen airports nationwide. Children under the age of eighteen are allowed to travel under your ID for free and your spouse is only an additional fifty dollars.
We all want to reduce our time at the airport and get on the plane and just get to where we’re going. However, if you notice those four letters at the bottom of your boarding pass, be prepared for the security checkpoint to take a little bit…maybe a lot bit longer. With a little bit of luck and hopefully no bad behavior on your part, you world traveler, your time at the airport should not be as uncomfortable and time-consuming as it usually is.