Home Homeland Security Lauderdale airport gets TSA PreCheck express lane

Lauderdale airport gets TSA PreCheck express lane

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by Arlene Satchell, The Sun Sentinel

If you're traveling through Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport for the holidays, you just might breeze through security courtesy of a new program launched there Wednesday by the Transportation Security Administration.

The agency rolled out its trusted-travelers program -- TSA PreCheck -- at the airport, which will offer expedited security screening benefits to select travelers.

That means preapproved travelers should be able to leave shoes, light jackets and belts on, and not have to remove a laptop or small containers of liquids and gels from a carry-on bag.

Eligible travelers departing Fort Lauderdale include U.S. citizens who are Delta Air Lines frequent fliers or members of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Trusted Traveler programs such as Global Entry, TSA officials said.

"TSA PreCheck is the future," said TSA Federal Security Director Tim Lewis at the airport launch event. "TSA PreCheck will allow expedited screening and a more convenient security experience for those passengers we know the most about."

With PreCheck, the TSA can screen 200 to 250 travelers an hour compared with about 150 people during normal security processing, noted Lewis. "We've got to get to a point where most travelers are going through PreCheck, and we're working hard to make that happen."

The new PreCheck lane is located in Terminal 2 at the east security checkpoint.

"It is much better and very convenient," said Atlanta sales representative Richard Peterson, of the new PreCheck screening process as he went through the dedicated line Wednesday. "I appreciate having access to this service," added Peterson, who travels weekly.

To qualify for PreCheck, travelers have to meet certain eligibility requirements such as passing strict background checks and receiving an invitation from Delta to join.

If they don't receive an invitation they can apply for a fee, to the Customs and Border Protection's Global Entry program and gain access to PreCheck services that way, TSA officials said. Canadians, who are members of the CBP's NEXUS trusted-traveler program that are traveling on domestic U.S. flights, are also qualified to participate in PreCheck.

The Fort Lauderdale airport is the fourth in Florida to get TSA PreCheck, which is already available through select carriers at Miami, Orlando and Tampa International airports.

"We value it, and hope it's used a lot," said Ismael "Izzy" Bonilla, deputy director of the Fort Lauderdale airport, of TSA PreCheck.

The TSA is evaluating other airports around the country for inclusion in the program, but didn't have a date on when Palm Beach International could be added, Lewis said.

More than 4 million passengers have experienced TSA PreCheck, which is available in 34 U.S. airports, according to the federal agency.

How does PreCheck work at the airport?

Once the TSA has determined a traveler is eligible for expedited screening, information is embedded in the barcode of the passenger's boarding pass. The barcode is then scanned at the designated checkpoint and the passenger may then be sent to the TSA PreCheck lane.

Although a traveler may qualify for PreCheck, its benefits aren't guaranteed as the TSA must give approval to enter the express lane each time he or she flies.

For information, visit http://www.tsa.gov.

asatchell@tribune.com, 954-356-4209 or Twitter @TheSatchreport

Information Box: Holiday Travel

Still haven't bought airline tickets for your holiday trip? Here are some tips to finding the best prices remaining as the peak travel season nears:

Shop airfare comparison websites for last-minute deals to low-demand destinations

Travel on non-peak days to avoid higher fares or premiums such as any time before Dec. 18 or on Dec. 25, Dec. 31 or Jan. 1

Save on baggage fees by choosing airlines that allow at least one free checked bag

Consider flying to/from a regional or alternate airport such as Baltimore Washington International instead of Washington National Airport

If your airfare is already in the bag, consider these tips:

Bring only one carry-on bag as overhead bin space will be limited; liquids and gels must in be in 3.4 ounce bottles or less and in a 1-quart size plastic bag if packed in a carry-on

Use off-airport parking lots as they're generally cheaper

Don't bring wrapped gifts as they may be unwrapped during airport security screening

Source: TSA, cheapOair.com, FareCompare.com

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