Travelers at Midway Airport will have the option to participate in a speedier and less hassling security screening process by the end of the year, the Transportation Security Administration announced Wednesday.
The PreCheck expedited-screening program allows airline passengers who have voluntarily undergone background checks to leave on their shoes, belt and light outerwear and forgo removing laptop computers from their cases or liquids and gels of up to 3 ounces from carry-on bags, officials said.
The program, which already operates at O'Hare International Airport and 39 other airports, is being expanded to 60 more locations this year, TSA officials said. Also, the 40 airports that already have PreCheck will be equipped with more PreCheck lanes.
PreCheck, which was launched almost two years ago, essentially allows the TSA to screen low-risk passengers before they arrive at the airport. The service costs $85 for five years.
It is part of the TSA's recent efforts to move away from a one-size-fits-all approach and instead provide "risk-based'' security. The change allows screeners to focus more on passengers who are lesser known or who merit extra security screening for various reasons, including those traveling to countries with a known connection to terrorism or purchasing a ticket using cash just prior to a flight, officials said.
U.S. citizens who are members of airline frequent flier programs are eligible to apply for PreCheck. Participating airlines are United Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, US Airways, Alaska Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines and Virgin America. Southwest Airlines and JetBlue are expected to begin participating in PreCheck soon.
U.S. citizens who are members of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Trusted Traveler program and Canadian citizens who are members of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's NEXUS program also may participate in PreCheck, officials said.
In addition, the TSA will begin an application program later this year allowing more U.S. citizens to enroll in PreCheck, officials said.
A PreCheck indicator will be embedded in the bar code of eligible passengers' boarding passes. Passengers will be directed to a PreCheck lane when the boarding pass is scanned at the security checkpoint, officials said, adding that in some cases, because of random selection, PreCheck passengers may be required to go through regular security.
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