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TSA pilot program lets fliers speed through security checks

December 23, 2012|By Hugo Martin
  • Travelers go through TSA security stations -- that require them to take off their shoes -- at Long Beach Airport.
Travelers go through TSA security stations -- that require them to take… (Allen J. Schaben, Los Angeles…)

To ease delays at airport security checkpoints, the Transportation Security Administration has launched a pilot program that lets average travelers hurry to their planes without having to remove their shoes or take liquids out of their carry-ons.

But there are a couple of hurdles: The travelers first have to get past an explosive-sniffing dog and a TSA agent who is specially trained to detect suspicious behavior.

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The program, dubbed Managed Inclusion, is being tested at the Tampa, Fla., and Indianapolis international airports. TSA Administrator John Pistole said he hopes to expand the program next year. There's no word yet on when it might come to Southern California.

The TSA currently operates “PreCheck” security lines in 35 airports, including Los Angeles International and Orange County's John Wayne airports. The lines are reserved for pre-screened travelers who are members of an airline or hotel loyalty program or have paid $100 to enroll in a screening program through U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The PreCheck lines move much faster than regular security lines because travelers don’t have to remove shoes, belts or coats and can leave their computers and liquid containers in their carry-on bags.

Under the new pilot program, regular travelers who do not qualify for the PreCheck program can be invited to use the faster PreCheck lines but only if they get past an explosives-sniffing dog and a behavior detection officer, who will ask questions to look for suspicious behavior.

“What Managed Inclusion means is … if there’s not many people going through the PreCheck lane and there’s a long line at the regular queue, can we somehow identify those people as being lower risk and offer them the opportunity to go through PreCheck?” Pistole said.

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Follow Hugo Martin on Twitter at @hugomartin

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