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More BWI Passengers Travel With Ease As TSA PreCheck Expands To Southwest Airlines

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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Going through airport security just got easier for millions of Americans now that Southwest announced it’s joining the TSA PreCheck program.

Monique Griego got a behind-the-scenes look at the new lane and who is now eligible to pass through it.

Keeping your shoes on is a luxury most flyers haven’t experienced through airport security in years. But it’s just one of the perks now available to millions of travelers at BWI thanks to Southwest joining the TSA PreCheck program.

“It’s great. Fantastic,” said Karen Muir, BWI traveler.

Southwest is one of five airlines at BWI offering the expedited screening process to its customers.

“Southwest is 70 percent of our business, so it basically opens it up to most of the people that use the airport,” said Paul Wiedefeld, executive director of BWI Airport.

The TSA PreCheck program allows eligible flyers, who’ve been pre-checked, to pass through an exclusive security lane where they don’t have to remove their shoes, jacket or belt and can leave certain items in their carry-on.

“No longer one size fits all. We know the vast majority of passengers coming through represent little to no risk,” said Lisa Farbstein, TSA spokesperson.

In order to join the TSA PreCheck program you must be a U.S. citizen enrolled in a frequent flyer program or a CBP trusted traveler. Canadians on Nexus can also qualify, as well as military members.

Participating airlines will notify customers who are eligible. Those who’ve already experienced TSA PreCheck say the small changes make a big difference.

“It saves a lot of time,” said Pat Salmonese, frequent flyer.

”I felt like I went into the wrong line. It went so smoothly,” said Dave Ponder, frequent flyer.

The TSA is already starting an application process where fliers who aren’t eligible right now can sign up. They hope to get that started by the end of the year.

Tuesday it was announced BWI made it on Travel and Leisure’s top 20 list for the best airport security checkpoints. It was the only one from this region.

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