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Travelers Bypass Security Lines With BWI’s New Pre-Screening Program

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Christie Ileto joined WJZ's News Team in the fall of 2012. She was...
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LINTHICUM, Md. (WJZ) — Some frequent flyers can now get through security at BWI a lot faster. TSA officially expanded its pre-check program to the airport Wednesday.

Christie Ileto explains what this means for your holiday travel.

The TSA program will let certain frequent flyers bypass the usually long security lines, which means for some a quicker and smoother trek to their gate.

Bypass normal security lines, and the hassle that comes with it.

“You don’t have to take your laptop out of your bag, keep your shoes on,” said passenger Andre Gowens.

That’s what some frequent flyers, like Andre Gowens get to do, as part of a new TSA program started Wednesday at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport. 

TSA says passengers don’t have to take off certain articles of clothing, or remove items like laptops or certain liquids from carry-on bags.

“This expedited process is a customer service, but also allows TSA to focus resources to those who pose a risk to aviation security,” said Doug Hofsass, TSA Asst. Administrator of Risk Based Security.

Passengers who opt into the program get an identification barcode on their boarding pass and scan it at checkpoints–allowing them to move quicker through security.

“I travel a lot so this speeds things up,” said passenger Brian Fernandez.

TSA pre-screens those selected individuals before their flights.

“Just as safe, if you’re a frequent flyer,” said Gowens. “You have a history of being a safe traveler. They do sufficient screening.”

By midday Wednesday more than 200 passengers came through the pre-screening security line. TSA says it’s three to four times faster for passengers compared to the normal security lines.

To become one of the chosen passengers at BWI, you need to be either a frequent flyer with participating airlines–U.S. Airways, Delta or United–or a member of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection traveler program.

But even if you qualify for pre-check:

“None of our populations–even those that are qualified for pre-check–are guaranteed pre-check screening every single time,” said Hofsass.

TSA says this keeps all security screenings random and unpredictable, and the travelers at the airports safe.

BWI is the 32nd airport in the country to launch the pre-screening program. TSA says more than 4 million passengers have done TSA pre-screening.

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