New TSA Programs Offer Less Intrusive Airport Screening


There has been widespread news coverage of issues related to enforcement of security guidelines at U.S. airports and border crossings. Of specific concern has been:

  • strip searches of elderly travelers.
  • pat downs and other searches that were felt to be intrusive.
  • full-body scanning machines.

In an attempt to address these concerns, some airports are experimenting with discontinuing searches of the elderly. Precheck, a new program that has been introduced on Delta and American Airlines, gives pre-screened, frequent travelers who are considered to pose low-security risks an opportunity to bypass screening and pat downs at specific airports.

Canada has had a similar program for some time. For a non-refundable fee of $50 in Canadian or U.S. dollars, some low-risk, frequent travelers have been participating in the NEXUS program. These pre-approved travelers have undergone background checks and their irises have been scanned so that they can clear U.S. or Canadian border crossing through short dedicated lines. The NEXUS membership card is effective for 5 years.

In the USA, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has partnered with some U.S. airlines at specific airports and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) through pre-flight screening. The programs, which are open to U.S. citizens include NEXUS, SENTRI and Global Entry.

Under Precheck, a new program introduced last year, low-risk passengers who are pre-screened as "trusted travelers" are able to bypass security clearance. The goal is to lower the cost of the airport screening programs and create a less intrusive experience for travelers who don't pose a security risk. Delta and American Airlines are able to invite passengers to join this program after they pass security and background checks. U.S. citizens can also apply to CBP to participate in Precheck. The Global entry fee is US$100. Under Precheck, passengers check-in through special lines.They avoid pat-downs and are not required to remove their shoes or laptops or have their liquids inspected.

U.S. companies with employees involved in fields such as corporate event planning, and are required to travel frequently for business meetings and events, now have a number of options to make travel more convenient for the members of their team. These new programs demonstrate flexibility and responsiveness to public concerns while still keeping borders, airline flights and airports safe.

Learn more about how security measures affect meeting-goers in With New Rules for Airlines, Are You Still Up in the Air? And get much done ahead of time with Cvent's Event Management Software.

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