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Frequent Flyers, Rejoice! Southwest Joins TSA’s Pre-Check Program

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Monique Griego 370x278 Monique Griego
Monique Griego joined the WJZ News Team in July 2011 as a General...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Airline travel is about to get easier for millions of Americans. This week, Southwest announced it’s joining the TSA’s pre-check program.

Monique Griego has more on who is now eligible.

Southwest is now one of five airlines at BWI to offer the program to its customers.

The Transportation Security Administration’s pre-check program has allowed millions of eligible flyers to circumvent what can be a tedious airport security process.

“Especially if you’re a frequent flyer with thousands of miles, and yet, you’re still subjected to it,” said frequent flyer Bill Barum.

But the screening process is about to get a lot easier for a lot more customers now that Southwest Airlines announced it’s joining the program and will invite its Rapid Rewards customers to enroll.

“It makes it a quicker experience and a better travel experience,” said Jonathan Dean, BWI spokesperson.

Dean says there’s already a new TSA express lane near Southwest in Concourse A. Besides the exclusive lane, pre-check flyers don’t have to take off their shoes, belts or jackets and can also leave laptops and small liquids in their carry-ons.

“It usually takes about a minute versus 20 or 30 or 45 minutes over there,” said Robert Dyles, pre-check member.

To be eligible for expedited screening, you must be a U.S. citizen enrolled in a frequent flyer program or a CBP Trusted Traveler. Canadian citizens in NEXUS can also join, as well as most military members.

Qualifying flyers will receive an opt-in invitation from their airline. Those who already use it say its main benefit is stress reduction.

“Especially when you’re running late for a flight. If you have to go through the regular line, you may not make it. But you can here,” Dyles said.

BWI is one of 100 airports nationwide to offer the TSA pre-check program to its flyers.

TSA is in the process of creating a program where more Americans can apply for expedited screening for a fee.

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