News

More travelers can keep shoes on in airports

More travelers can keep shoes on in airports

A traveler removes his shoes before going through a security check point at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York, February, 29, 2012. Photo: Reuters/Andrew Burton

By Deborah Charles

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The agency that screens U.S. airline passengers for security clearance said on Wednesday it would expand an expedited program to 60 more airports this year, allowing tens of millions of travelers to keep on their shoes and belts at airport checkpoints.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said its TSA PreCheck program will operate at 100 airports in 42 U.S. states plus Guam and Puerto Rico. The agency also plans to expand the number of TSA PreCheck lanes at the existing 40 airports in the coming weeks.

With TSA PreCheck, pre-approved airline travelers may leave on their shoes, light outerwear and belt while they go through security. They do not have to remove laptop computers from cases or take out approved-sized liquids out of carry-on bags before the bags are screened.

“As TSA continues to move away from a one-size-fits-all approach to transportation security, we are looking for more opportunities to provide the most effective security in the most efficient way possible,” TSA Administrator John Pistole said.

Passengers who are eligible for PreCheck include U.S. citizens of frequent traveler programs who are invited to apply by participating airlines including Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways and Virgin America.

Additionally, U.S. citizens who are members of a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Trusted Traveler program and Canadian citizens who are members of the NEXUS expedited travel program qualify to participate.

The TSA will launch an application program later this year for PreCheck, which lets travelers fill out an online application and provide fingerprints. Applicants must pay an $85 enrollment fee for a five-year term of eligibility.

If a passenger is approved for PreCheck, a TSA PreCheck indicator will be embedded in the barcode of the boarding pass, allowing the passenger to move to the expedited screening line.

TSA can revoke or suspend the PreCheck if a passenger has had security issues at the gate or has committed a crime since a PreCheck was granted, a TSA official said. In addition, TSA could randomly require a PreCheck passenger to go through regular security.

The TSA said to date, more than 15 million passengers have experienced TSA PreCheck since it was launched in October 2011. But this is still just a small fraction of the 2 million passengers each day passing through U. S. Airports.

The U.S. Travel Association, a travel industry group, has praised the TSA for launching PreCheck and for speeding the process through airports by removing low-risk travelers from the regular screening process.

Erik Hansen director of domestic policy for the association, said the challenge will be to get more people to enroll in PreCheck to speed the security screening process.

Recent Headlines

in National

Amanda Knox murder conviction overturned

FILE - In this Jan. 31, 2014, file photo, Amanda Knox prepares to leave the set following a television interview in New York. Knox is engaged to Colin Sutherland, a musician who recently moved to Seattle from New York, a person close to the Knox family confirmed for The Associated Press. Knox’s murder conviction in the 2007 stabbing of her roommate has been reinstated by an Italian court, but the former college exchange student maintains her innocence and vows she won’t willingly go back to Italy. Both Knox and Sutherland are 27. No wedding date had been set.

Italy's highest court has overturned the murder conviction against Amanda Knox, bringing to a definitive end the high-profile case.

in National

Time for Iran to make tough decisions in nuclear talks

In this March 26, 2015, photo, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, center, leaves a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and other U.S. officials at a hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland. U.S. and Iranian diplomats gather at a Baroque palace in Europe, a historic nuclear agreement within reach. Over Iraq’s deserts, their militaries fight a common foe. Leaders in Washington and Tehran, capitals once a million miles from each other in ideological terms, wrestle for the first time in decades with the notion of a rapprochement.

Six world powers and Iran move closer to a deal, but there are still major disagreements.

in National

Making headlines this week

AP193442892434_0

A look at some of the week's biggest headlines and the stories you may have missed.

in Entertainment, National

Celebrities protest new Indiana law

George Takei poses for a portrait at Quaker Good Energy Lodge with GenArt and the Collective , during the Sundance Film Festival, on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014 in Park City, Utah.

Celebrities call for an Indiana boycott after the passing of a controversial law that could lead to discrimination against gay couples.

in National

Senate’s Harry Reid will not seek re-election

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. adjusts his glasses as he speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 24, 2015, following a policy luncheon. Reid is wearing special glasses as part of his recovery from injuries suffered in an exercise accident in January.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid says that it would be "inappropriate" for him to seek re-election.