New security screening at Sky Harbor will let you keep your shoes on

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by Carina Sonn

azfamily.com

Posted on February 9, 2012 at 9:41 AM

Updated Thursday, Feb 9 at 10:01 AM

PHOENIX, Ariz.-- The dreaded security lines will get a little shorter for some frequent fliers and those willing to pay. On Wednesday, the Transportation Safety Administration announced an expansion of its Pre™ program.

Seven airports in Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Miami and Minneapolis already have the program, which allows some passengers to breeze through security lines.

The fliers don't have to remove their jacket, shoes, liquids or laptop.

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

Sky Harbor International Airport, along with two-dozen other airports, will get the program sometime in 2012.

"I fly about 40 to 50,000 miles a year," said on frequent-traveler, talking about how all of those security checkpoints can be exhausting.

"You have to disrobe practically," Dan Zielinski agreed. "You have to pull stuff out of your bag, then you have to shuffle across and get everything back together quickly so it is kind of a hassle."

How much would they pay to avoid the hassle and annoyance?

Frequent fliers we talked to said they'd be willing to pay anywhere from $100 to $200 per year to zip through security.

John Mayer, who commutes between Sacramento and Phoenix, says the cost of convenience is worth it.

"The program will express all these business travelers through that travel every week," he said. "They're already screened by the federal government. I think it's great, the best thing they've ever done."

Right now only American Airlines and Delta are participating in the Pre™ program, but soon Alaskan Airlines, US Airways and United will be added to the list.

Right now, to qualify for the program, passengers must be frequent fliers of participating airlines - Delta or American Airlines for the time being, and the benefits of Pre™ would be free.

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

 

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