Oct. 24--Todd Bee walked straight through the security line at Tulsa International Airport on Wednesday without taking off his shoes or jacket. He even kept his laptop in his bag.
"I fly more than 100 times a year," said the Chicago resident and Pepsi engineer who was finishing a business trip in Tulsa. "It sure is nice not to go through that hassle every time."
Some travelers can now leave their shoes and belts on and keep their laptops in their bags after the Transportation Security Administration opened a new PreCheck lane at Tulsa International.
The TSA's PreCheck program gives select fliers the ability to go through a faster security line, with fewer requirements. And those travelers only have to go through a standard metal detector, not the controversial Advanced Imaging Technologies machines.
TSA quietly unrolled the program at Tulsa International last week, while many federal employees were furloughed because of the partial government shutdown. About 600 to 700 people have been using PreCheck daily, the TSA says.
"This program is another example of how TSA continues to move away from a one-size-fits-all approach to transportation security, enabling us to provide the most effective security in the most efficient way possible," said TSA Federal Security Director Stephen Cortright in a statement.
The program is designed to cut down on security time and inconveniences for those that travel the most.
Fliers must be invited into the program by an airline, and they go through a background check.
American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines are using the program at Tulsa International. Southwest Airlines, the carrier with the most daily flights at the airport, is working to enroll in PreCheck.
Alaska Airlines, US Airways and Virgin America are also using the program, and JetBlue is expected to have PreCheck later this year, the TSA says.
Rita Stelzer and her partner Scott Rosenquist of Wisconsin were automatically enrolled in the PreCheck program for their American Airlines flight.
"Taking off your shoes and coat can be such a pain," said Stelzer, who was in town with Rosenquist to receive an award for his work as a truck driver. "It's the last thing you do before you make a long plane trip."
Travelers can also become eligible for PreCheck by enrolling in the Customs and Border Patrol Trusted Travelers, which costs about $85.
Airliner passengers in the program have a TSA PreCheck logo on their tickets, giving them access to the expedited security line.
TSA is rolling out the program to 60 airports this year after the nation's 40 largest airports were already using PreCheck. PreCheck was launched in October 2011.
Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City is also getting the expanded TSA PreCheck program.
One of the TSA security lanes at Tulsa International was converted for PreCheck use, although that lane was only used during peak hours.
Some travelers will still be subjected to random security searches, including pat-downs.
PreCheck is one of the few examples of the TSA relaxing security restrictions in the 12 years since its creation following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
What it is: A program that allows some frequent travelers to go through an expedited security lane. Those fliers don't have to remove shoes, belts, light jackets or take laptops out of bags.
How to enroll: Be referred by an airline. Or sign up online, pay an $85 fee and go to an enrollment center in Washington, D.C., or Indianapolis.
Kyle Arnold 918-581-8380
Copyright 2013 - Tulsa World, Okla.
Milwaukee County’s General Mitchell International Airport (MKE) included in TSA PreCheck program
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The federal government's Pre-Check program allows certain approved frequent travelers to go through a shorter security line and forego removing their shoes, belts and jackets.
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