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New security program speeds frequent travelers through lines at Sky Harbor

by Catherine Holland

Video report by Ryan O'Donnell

Posted on August 27, 2012 at 2:45 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 28 at 1:17 AM

PHOENIX -- Sky Harbor International Airport is the 23rd airport in the country to give frequent travelers a break on security with the implementation of the Transportation Safety Administration's Pre✓™ program.

Designed to speed vetted frequent travelers through security lines, the program launches at Sky Harbor on Tuesday.

Seven airports in Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Miami and Minneapolis were the first to put the Pre✓™ program into effect.

"TSA Pre✓™ is a pre-screening initiative that makes risk assessments on passengers who voluntarily participate prior to their arrival at the airport checkpoint," reads TSA.gov.

Pre✓™ travelers don't have to remove their jackets, shoes, liquids or laptops when going through security lines.

"It's part of a fundamental shift in how we approach aviation security," Secretary the Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano explained earlier this year. "Not all travelers are alike and they don't all present the same risk."

Right now, Pre✓™ is only available to people traveling out of Terminal 4 and US Airways. The goal is to eventually expand the program to all terminals and airlines at Sky Harbor.

In order to take advantage of Pre✓™, you have to prove you're a frequent flier (be a member of a participating airline's frequent-flier program), undergo a background check and pay a fee.

Thousands are expected to apply. Officials say those who are accepted to Pre✓™ should save between seven and 20 minutes.

Not everybody is happy with the time-saving program, calling it unfair because only frequent fliers can apply.

That now not, however, mean that casual travelers are out of luck.

They can apply for one of the federal government's trusted traveler programs like Global Entry, which charges $100 for five years of enrollment.

Carinna Sonn contributed to this piece.

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