Reporting Derek Valcourt
BALTIMORE (WJZ)—There’s good news for frequent flyers traveling through BWI-Marshall Airport. Getting through security may soon be a lot faster thanks to a new program the airport will take part in this year.
Derek Valcourt explains how it works and who is eligible.
Security officials call it a good deal. You give them some information about yourself ahead of time, and in return you get in the security express lane.
The TSA is expanding their trusted traveler program. Frequent flyers will be able to up sign up ahead of time for a prescreening background check. Those who pass won’t have to wait in those long TSA lines and won’t have to take off their shoes, jackets and belts when they go through security.
“So this is all voluntary. If you are a frequent flyer you fly 200,000 miles a year. [If] you don’t want to be considered for that, [if] you don’t want to share any of that information, that’s fine,” said TSA Chief John Pistole.
The program has already been tested in a few select cities around the country, and they are adding the program to 28 other airports, including BWI-Marshall this year.
“Expanding GSA precheck is more than just about speeding up travel. It’s part of a fundamental shift in how we approach aviation security,” said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
At BWI-Marshall, most travelers are excited about the plan, but a few have reservations.
“I think it’s a great idea, especially for people like me going to college and back home a lot. It would be very convenient,” said Brady Mullis.
“I don’t think anybody should move in haste when it comes to security,” said Harriet Halmon.
But it’s bad news for Southwest Airlines’ frequent flyers. The company, which has more flights out of BWI than any other airline, says they won’t be taking part in the trusted traveler program– at least for now. The company says they have their hands full working on their merger with AirTran.
There’s no word on exactly when the program will be up and running at BWI. But it is expected to be fully in place by year’s end.