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Tuesday, July 3, 2012 - Page updated at 01:00 p.m.
More passengers can use PreCheck fast screening at Sea-Tac Airport
By Carol Pucci
Seattle Times travel writer
The new PreCheck fast-pass security screening program at Sea-Tac Airport has been expanded beyond Alaska Airlines passengers to include eligible fliers on American, Delta, United and US Airways.
The expansion of the expedited airport screening was announced Monday by the Transportation Security Administration.
Those eligible to participate — for now, those considered low security risks either because they are high-mileage frequent fliers invited by those airlines to apply for PreCheck or members of the Global Entry, Sentri or Nexus (U.S./Canadian/Mexican border-crossing programs) — can use a special lane set up at Checkpoint No. 5 in the north end of the Sea-Tac terminal. There, they can pass through security without removing jackets and shoes, or taking liquids and laptops out of carry-ons. They also walk through metal detectors instead of full-body scanners.
Not everyone declared eligible for PreCheck sails through security every time. That's because TSA operates PreCheck on a per-flight basis, meaning it still will select some travelers for full screening on a random basis; PreCheck-approved passengers don't find out until they arrive at the airport where an agent scans a bar code embedded into boarding passes.
TSA began testing PreCheck in Seattle in April with Alaska Airlines passengers as well as members of the border-crossing programs (such as Nexus, through which travelers are prescreened for U.S.-Canada travel and can use special road lanes at border crossings). Passengers traveling through Portland on Alaska, American, Delta, United and US Airways also now may use PreCheck.
As part of the effort to eliminate one-size-fits-all screening, TSA said it is testing several other new approaches, including a program designed to positively identify airline pilots; the use of expanded behavior detection techniques; modified screening procedures for travelers 75 and older; and providing PreCheck to U.S. military active duty members traveling through Sea-Tac Airport or Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.
TSA has so far introduced PreCheck at 16 U.S. airports, and plans to expand the program to 35 airports by the end of the year. A list of participating airlines and airports is at www.tsa.gov/what_we_do/escreening.shtm .
Carol Pucci: email@example.com. On Twitter @carolpucci.
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