(ARLINGTON, Va.) — Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Administrator John Pistole and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced Wednesday morning the expansion of the airline passenger pre-screening program that allows passengers who are enrolled to have expedited screenings.
Those associated with “Pre-Check” face fewer hassles; they no longer have to remove their shoes or belts, they can wear light jackets, and they can keep their computers in their bags and their three-ounce liquids and gels in their carry-ons.
“By the end of March, Pre-Check will be operating here at Reagan National, and also we are expanding it to New York’s JFK Airport, Salt Lake City International and Chicago O’Hare. By the end of calendar year 2012, we will have Pre-Check up and running at 28 of the nation’s busiest airports. Expanding TSA Pre-Check is about more than just speeding up travel. It’s part of a fundamental shift in how we approach aviation security,” said Napolitano at a news conference at Reagan National Airport Wednesday morning.
“Immediately after the attacks of 9/11, we simply did not have the information and analytic capability to identify travelers who posed the greatest potential risk and so we had to take a one-size-fits-all approach,” she said. “Our experience over the past several years has made us smarter about the evolving threats we face and how best to deal with them.”
Pistole said that random screening checks would still be employed by TSA officers despite an individual’s enrollment in Pre-Check, but he described how the program would normally work.
“The key is that we have done pre-screening before somebody ever gets to the checkpoint. So when the person arrives, they will have in their — on their boarding pass, embedded in the bar code, the fact that they are part of the TSA Pre-Check program. And so there will be a dedicated lane for those individuals. Thus far in the seven airports where it’s currently operating, we’ve had over 310,000 flyers go through this program.” Pistole said.
The program is currently being used with frequent flyers with American Airlines at airports in Dallas, Miami, Las Vegas, Minneapolis and Los Angeles, and with Delta at airports in Atlanta, Detroit, Las Vegas, and Minneapolis. US Airways, United Airlines and Alaska Airlines will begin to have their frequent flyers enroll in the program later this year.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Carina Storrs Special to CNN
Kevin Conlon and Polo Sandoval, CNN Newswire