Speeding through security...?

As of April 24, TSA's TSA Pre™ program became available at Sea-Tac Airport (SEA) to many of Alaska Airlines' frequent fliers and other "low-risk" travelers.

The program started on Oct. 4, 2011 and, in April, was expanded to include SeaTac. In all, the TSA Pre™ (pronounced Pre-Check) program is being tested at 28 airports airports in the U.S.

According to TSA's web site, Customs and Border Protection has partnered with TSA on this Department of Homeland Security initiative, which is designed to help TSA focus resources on higher-risk and unknown passengers while expediting the process for lower-risk and known passengers whenever possible.  

How it works

Only those travelers who are members of the Nexus, Global Entry and Sentri expedited border-crossing programs run by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, as well as those invited by partner airlines, are eligible for the pilot program.

Some passengers could qualify for expedited screening through U.S. airport security checkpoints via designated screening lanes. Additional potential benefits may include:
  • Keeping shoes on
  • Keeping 3-1-1 compliant bag in carry-on
  • Leaving laptop in bag
  • Leaving on light outerwear/jacket
  • Leaving belt on
TSA is careful to point out that, "At no point, however, is this program an entitlement. Passengers are always subject to random, unpredictable screening measures."

In the pilot program, expedited clearance is on a per-flight basis and at SeaTac is limited to Alaska Airlines. Travelers who are pre-qualified will find out they're eligible to use the special lane after they've checked in at the airport and a TSA agent has scanned a bar code on their boarding passes.

Travelers can apply for the Nexus, Global Entry and Sentri programs via links on TSA's web site and, if approved, will be eligible for the pilot program. Those who don't want to pay the $100 non-refundable application fee for Global Entry or go through the application process will have to wait until the TSA Pre™ program is rolled out nationally.

No word on when that might be.

Safe travels!

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