In an effort to continue to strengthen security and move away from a one-size-fits-all approach to aviation security, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) began implementing a series of risk-based security initiatives in late 2011. Since that time, TSA has continued its expansion of risk-based security efforts by adding new popular programs and expanding existing intelligence and information screening to identify lower risk travelers. The vision of risk-based security is to increase overall aviation system security by focusing on high-risk and unknown passengers while expediting known or trusted travelers.
A key element of this strategy is TSA Pre✓®, an agency initiative that expedites the security screening process at over 130 airports nationwide for low-risk passengers. TSA Pre✓® allows travelers flying on one of 11 participating carriers to leave on their shoes, light outerwear and belt, keep their laptop in its case and keep 3-1-1 compliant liquids/gels in a carry-on bag. This program enables TSA to provide the most effective security in the most efficient way, while enhancing the passenger experience at U.S. airports.
In an effort to expand TSA Pre✓® to additional travelers, TSA began the TSA Pre✓® Application Program in December 2013. This fee-based program allows TSA to extend expedited screening access to travelers who have voluntarily provided basic personal identifiable information, summited to a background check, and been approved by TSA. TSA now has more than 330 application centers nationwide, enabling travelers to easily enroll. On average, nearly 4,000 travelers apply each day for a Known Traveler Number, or KTN. Once successful enrolled, the traveler will utilize this KTN for future bookings on a participating airline.
TSA’s sister agency, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), offers three additional trusted traveler programs that include TSA Pre✓® eligibility. For a comparison of the various programs offered by TSA and CBP, visit www.DHS.gov/tt.
The TSA blog has posted a comprehensive guide with a variety of tips and links for travelers during the busy holiday season. From traveling with wrapped gifts and food, to flying if you’ve forgotten or lost your ID, this handy article is a must-read for frequent flyers and first-time passengers alike.
TSA recently launched a new program dedicated to social media customer service called @AskTSA. The program provides quality, real-time responses to passenger questions before, during, and after their travel experience. By providing customer service through social media, TSA helps passengers better prepare for the screening process, while enabling officers to focus more on their counterterrorism mission. In addition, it allows TSA to identify and resolve operational issues early on and as shared by passengers.
Since the program’s launch, the @AskTSA team has resolved TSA Pre✓® Known Traveler Number issues in partnership with the airlines; helped reunite passengers with lost property; and continues to clarify prohibited and permitted items as well as address civil rights issues, claims, compliments and complaints.
The team is available to answer questions weekdays from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern time, and on weekends and holidays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Follow @AskTSA on Twitter and feel free to reach out via Direct Message.