On-site enrollment could mean faster airport security checks

Published: Tuesday, March 4 2014 6:46 p.m. MST

Debra Gillette walks through the new TSA PreCheck expedited security line at Salt Lake City International Airport in Salt Lake City Tuesday, March 4, 2014.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — More Utahns will now be able to enroll in a program that could mean less time getting through security at Salt Lake City International Airport.

The Transportation Security Administration PreCheck program allows eligible passengers to go through airport security with their shoes, belt and a light jacket on. They do not need to remove laptops from bags or liquids from a 3-1-1 compliant bag.

TSA PreCheck has been available at the airport since February 2012 for passengers enrolled in the U.S. Custom and Border Protection's Global Entry program and other frequent flier programs.

The creation of a PreCheck enrollment center will allow it to serve more travelers, said Lorie Dankers, TSA public affairs manager.

"We knew more people wanted to be in PreCheck, but there wasn't necessarily the vehicle to do that," Dankers said. "By having an enrollment center, it makes it more accessible to the general public."

The on-site enrollment center is located on the mezzanine level of Terminal 1.

To enroll, passengers must complete an application, pay an $85 processing fee, provide fingerprints and verify their identity, citizenship or immigration status. They then will receive a "known traveler number" that they will include when they book a flight.

"This is the process that the TSA has in place to confirm that you're low risk," Dankers said.

Passengers will still go through the same screening process and metal detector, but the TSA PreCheck program should speed up all traffic at the airport, she said.

"Anyone we can take out of that general line and put in the PreCheck lane makes it faster for all of them," Dankers said.

Patty Montgomery, of El Paso, Texas, said she participated in the TSA PreCheck line for the second time Tuesday at Salt Lake City International Airport. The experience has been good, she said, and has saved her time.

"I do think it's a good idea," Montgomery said.

When the airport gets busy, Montgomery said she noticed TSA employees pulling some people over to use the TSA PreCheck line.

Salt Lake City resident Lindsay Holshue and her 3-month-old son were among those pulled into the express lane Tuesday.

"For being quicker, it doesn't go so much quicker," she said.

After her experience, Holshue said she probably won't enroll in the program.

"I don't think it saves that much time, to be honest," she said. "But I have an infant, so that might be all the difference."

Claudette Boudreau, a Massachusetts resident who stopped in Utah for a skiing trip, said she loves the program.

Dankers said the TSA's goal is to have more than 25 percent of travelers using some form of expedited screening such as the TSA PreCheck program. Salt Lake City International Airport regularly exceeded that 25 percent, she said.

There is also another off-airport site where passengers can enroll in the program. The addresses and a list of required identity documents and eligibility requirements can be found on the Department of Homeland Security's website.

Passengers can use their TSA PreCheck program at any of the 117 participating airports for five years. Dankers said there are 12 airport enrollment sites in the nation, including Salt Lake City, with more to open within the week. There are 200 off-airport sites.

Dankers said more than 70,000 passengers are enrolled in the program nationwide.

Airlines participating in the TSA PreCheck include Alaska, American, Delta, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Southwest, United, US Airways and Virgin America.

Email: eeagar@deseretnews.com

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