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Salt Lake airport opens faster security line program

Published March 4, 2014 3:48 pm

TSA • Travelers can now apply for an expedited security check before boarding.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

For about a dollar a month, you can almost remember what it was like to fly before 9/11.

The Transportation Security Administration has opened an enrollment center for its new Pre-Check program at Salt Lake City International Airport. The program allows enrolled passengers to skip the usual security lines for their own. The long shadow of 9/11 is not entirely absent — passengers in the Pre-Check line may still need to let TSA check their hands for signs of suspicious chemicals — but beyond that, they get to go through the checkpoint without taking off their lighter coats, belts or shoes or removing their laptops and small liquids and gels from their bags.

Anyone interested in joining the program can now sign up at the Salt Lake airport, in an office located on the upper level of Terminal One. Lorie Dankers, TSA spokeswoman, demonstrated what that process looks like in a mock enrollment Tuesday morning.

"We use the latest intelligence and enhanced security for travelers we know little to nothing about," Dankers said.

The applicant brings an approved form of identification to the office (a list is available at tsa.gov), allows the TSA to scan their fingerprints for a criminal background check and pays an $85 fee. The fee is good for five years of enrollment, after which people must pay the fee again to re-apply.

Once the TSA has approved the applicant, he or she receives a "known traveler number" specific to them in two to three weeks.

Participants can be rejected or booted from the program if they commit or have committed a "disqualifying criminal offense," including treason, murder, terrorism, espionage, arson, rape, bribery and kidnapping. People can also be rejected if they were found not guilty of a disqualifying crime by reason of insanity in the past seven years, or released from prison for such a crime in the past five. A full list of the disqualifying crimes is available on the Pre-Check website.

The TSA says the expansion is part of its attempt to make screening more effective by breaking away from a single approach at all airports. More than 100 airports participate in Pre-Check.

Millions of passengers have used Pre-Check since it started in October 2011, according to the TSA.

Not every airline is on board with Pre-Check, though. Specifically for Salt Lake City International, Frontier Airlines has yet to join the program, so travelers who book their flights with them still have to go through the regular security line, Dankers said.

The enrollment center accepts walk-ins, but the TSA encourages applicants to make an appointment online. To do so, and for more information about the program, visit tsa.gov/tsa-precheck.

mmcfall@sltrib.com

Twitter: @mikeypanda