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TSA to Test Expedited Screening for Select Frequent Fliers

I received an email from Delta today announcing the TSA test program for expedited
screening for frequent fliers launching this fall.  I hope this email means I’m on the list of Delta frequent fliers considered for this program, not just a mass email to all Medallion members.  The scoop for the test program is small, only frequent fliers from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Trusted Travel program, American Airlines, and Delta Airlines.  The test airports are limited to Miami and Dallas Ft. Worth for American frequent fliers, and Atlanta and Detroit for Delta fliers.  I look forward to hearing more about this in the coming months and opting-in to the program to help TSA become more efficient at processing frequent fliers.  Anything to make the time getting through security shorter!

 

 delta

Here is more information direct for the TSA website:

TSA is considering an identity-based concept which would help the agency focus resources on higher-risk and unknown passengers, while expediting the process for lower-risk and known passengers. The testing of this new concept will inform TSA’s next steps as the agency considers future procedures that could potentially allow travelers to volunteer more information about themselves prior to flying. TSA is looking at ways to expedite select travelers who voluntarily provide additional information, allowing the agency to integrate more identity-based screening into its security measures, which could reduce the need for some of the current physical screening that occurs at airports.

TSA will partner with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as well as U.S. air carriers to test this pre-flight, identity-based screening concept this fall.  As part of testing, certain frequent fliers and certain members of CBP's Trusted Traveler programs, including Global Entry, SENTRI, and NEXUS, who are U.S. citizens will be eligible to participate in this pilot, which could qualify them for expedited screening at select checkpoints at certain airports.

While nothing would ever guarantee expedited screening – TSA must retain a certain element of randomness to prevent terrorists from gaming the system – the testing of this concept holds the potential to significantly change the travel experience.

Airport security checkpoints are only one part of a multi-layered system for aviation security. Other parts, both seen and unseen by the public, include intelligence gathering and analysis, Behavior Detection Officers, explosive-detection canine teams, federal air marshals, and closed-circuit television monitoring.

If the pilot proves successful, these changes could allow officers to better focus their efforts on other passengers who are more likely to pose a risk to transportation. Additional changes to the security screening process may be implemented in the future as TSA continues to analyze the best approaches to security.

How Does It Work?

If participating passengers are cleared through the pre-screening process, they may be directed to a designated lane at the airport after they present their ID and boarding pass to security officers at the checkpoint. The layout of the lanes to provide expedited screening may vary between pilot locations.

Eligible participants will receive information from their airlines and/or CBP, as well as TSA on steps to take at each location.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q.  How will the pre-screening pilot work?

A.  As part of the risk-based, intelligence-driven approach TSA has developed a conceptual “identity-based” pre-screening process for the purpose of making risk assessments on passengers prior to their arrival at the airport checkpoint.

During testing of this concept TSA will make pre-screening assessments on a set of passengers who agree to voluntarily participate in the program. This includes certain members of certain existing Custom and Border Protection (CBP) Trusted Traveler programs and some eligible airline frequent flyers.

If TSA determines a passenger is eligible for expedited screening, information will be embedded in the barcode of the passenger’s boarding pass. TSA will read the barcode at the checkpoint and the passenger may be referred to a lane where they will undergo expedited screening.

At no point, however, is this program an entitlement club. Passengers are always subject to random, unpredictable screening measures.

Q. Where is it being tested?

A.  During the first phase of testing, certain frequent fliers and certain members of CBP's Trusted Traveler programs, including Global Entry, SENTRI, and NEXUS, who are U.S. citizens will be eligible to participate in this pilot, which could qualify them for expedited screening at select checkpoints at certain airports.

At Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International and Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County airports, certain frequent fliers from Delta Air Lines and certain members of CBP’s Trusted Traveler programs who are U.S. citizens and who are also flying on Delta will be eligible to participate in the pilot.

At Miami International and Dallas Fort Worth International airports, certain frequent fliers from American Airlines and certain members of CBP’s Trusted Traveler programs who are U.S. citizens and who are also flying on American will be eligible.

TSA plans to expand this pilot to include United Airlines, Southwest, JetBlue, US Airways, Alaska Airlines, and Hawaiian Airlines, as well as additional airports, once operationally ready.

Q.  Will this be at every checkpoint in participating airports?

A.  No. TSA, airlines and CBP will communicate with eligible participants to let them know the appropriate location at each participating airport.

Q.  Will participants know in advance that they have been cleared for expedited
screening?


A.  No. If TSA determines a passenger is eligible for expedited screening, information will be embedded in the barcode of the passenger’s boarding pass. TSA will read the barcode at the checkpoint and the passenger may be referred to a lane for expedited screening.

At no point, however, is this an entitlement club. All participants will always be subject to random, unpredictable screening measures.

Q.  What do participants need to do?

A.  Members of CBP’s Global Entry program are assigned a participant ID. To participate in TSA’s pilot program, these passengers must place their CBP participant ID in the ‘Known Traveler Number’ field while booking their reservations. That number is then passed to TSA’s Secure Flight system and taken into consideration during the pre-screening processing.

Selected frequent flyers will ‘opt-in’ through their airline’s system to participate in TSA’s program. Under this process the passenger will not need to input a Known Traveler number during the reservation process. Once the passenger opts-in, the airline identifies the individual as a participant when submitting the passenger reservation information to TSA’s Secure Flight system.

Q.  What will TSA do as part of the “pre-screening” of participants?

A.  While TSA cannot provide specifics about its screening procedures, using the information the participants allow the agency to access, TSA will be able to make an intelligence-driven risk assessment that could allow some of the participants to qualify for expedited screening.

At no point, however, would participation automatically qualify a passenger for permanent expedited screening. Passengers are always subject to random, unpredictable screening measures.

Q.  If a passenger in the selected participation pool “opts out” will they be
subjected to more screening?


A.  No. Passengers in the pre-determined population selected for the pilot who choose not to participate will undergo standard TSA screening procedures. Additionally, passengers are always subject to random, unpredictable screening measures.

Q.  Will participants get a membership card or something to shows they have been cleared for expedited screening?

A.  No. Passengers who volunteer will be pre-screened each time they fly. At no point would participation automatically qualify a passenger for permanent, expedited screening. Passengers are always subject to random, unpredictable screening measures.

Q.  What can participating passengers expect at the checkpoint?

A.  If participating passengers are cleared through the pre-screening process, they may be directed to a designated lane at the airport after they present their ID and boarding pass to the TSA Officers at the checkpoint. The layout of the lanes providing expedited screening may vary between airports.

Q.  How can someone not in these groups volunteer to participate?

A.  TSA is testing this pre-screening system for a limited time with a limited, pre-determined passenger population. Only those passengers who initially agree to “opt in” and are in this population will have the opportunity to participate at this time.

View the article at http://www.tsa.gov/what_we_do/expedited_screening.shtm

Comments

Used this at LAX on 1/28. Probably the best screening experience that I've had since 9/11! Shoes and jacket stayed on, etc. Got through the checkpoint in 30~ seconds!

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