Tulsa International Airport is one of 60 airports across the country
that will get expedited security lines, the federal Transport Security
Administration announced Wednesday.
TSA's PreCheck program exempts select frequent fliers from taking off their shoes, belts and light jackets and lets them keep laptops in bags. It also allows liquids to be kept in plastic bags.
The program is only available to a select number of frequent fliers, most referred by their airlines or those that sign up and submit to a background screening.
However, PreCheck is one of the very few instances where the federal government has relaxed security at airports in the 12 years since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and will cut time and inconveniences for those who travel the most.
The program is supposed to be operating in Tulsa by the end of the year. Will Rogers Airport in Oklahoma City is also one of the facilities slated for the expanded TSA PreCheck program.
"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," said TSA Administrator John S. Pistole in a statement. "Expanding TSA PreCheck to more locations enables many more passengers across the country to experience expedited screening."
To date the agency has had the expedited security lines in 40 airports. The additional 60 programs will bring PreCheck to 100 airports total.
At Tulsa International Airport, one of five TSA security lanes will be converted to a PreCheck line, said Tulsa International Airport spokeswoman Alexis Higgins.
"Right now the lines are longest early in the mornings between 6:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. when there are a lot of business travelers," Higgins said. "But it's never really more than 20 minutes."
Frequent fliers have to be referred by an airline to TSA and must choose to opt-in to participate in the program. Fliers are also eligible if they are a part of Customs and Border Patrol Trusted Travelers.
Fliers can also sign up online and verify at one of two enrollment centers in Washington, D.C., and Indianapolis. It costs $85 to enroll in the program.
Those enrolled in the government's Trusted Traveler program can also enroll in PreCheck.
The program is only available to frequent fliers on Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways and Virgin American. JetBlue and Southwest are soon expected to join the program.
PreCheck participants will have a customer bar code printed on their boarding pass. Once customers go through the initial boarding pass screening with TSA agents, they will be directed to the expedited line. The security agency will still perform random screenings for PreCheck passengers.
The original PreCheck program launched in October 2011.
TSA has instituted lanes at Tulsa International Airport for more experienced travelers, but those lanes are not screened by security agents. The security agency also allows some children and elderly individuals to leave on shoes and coats, but they have to remain in normal screening lanes.
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