***UPDATE: Expedited screening coming to more airports. See note below.***
The TSA is not really gay at all but I had to somehow include a queer angle to an essentially sexual-orientation-free story.
This brief update is to offer praise for two time-saving and stress-reducing new(ish) programs offered by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which is part of Homeland Security.
The first, which helps expedite domestic travel, is the TSA Pre-Check (Risk-Based Security Initiative). This program places more focus on pre-screening individuals prior to their flight. It’s being rolled out to airports around the country. Click here to learn more about it and to sign up.
I enrolled. Here’s how fabulous it was. At both JFK and LAX airports I skipped ahead of a very long line to the “TSA Pre” line and was waved to the empty X-ray machines. I was allowed to keep my belt and shoes on and my computer in its bag. I was asked to put my cell phone in my bag and if I had a jacket, I would have been asked to remove it.
The other program, available for travelers returning from visiting other countries, is the Global Online Enrollment Program (GOES). You provide TSA with some information about yourself, participate in an in-person interview at the airport, and provide electronic fingerprints in exchange for expedited processing when reentering the U.S. after visiting foreign countries. Click here for more information.
I’ve used it several times already and was able to skip ahead of long lines of sullen, shuffling masses directly to an ATM-size electronic kiosk. With this system you don’t even have to fill out a customs and immigration form upon arrival. That’s handled at the kiosk which prints out a receipt you drop with the customs official when you leave the baggage area. So much time and aggravation saved!
UPDATE, May 11, 2012
TSA Expedited Screening Coming Soon to More Airports
Dear Edward Salvato,
As a registered TSA PreCheckTM program participant, you may experience expedited screening by not having to remove shoes, belt, jacket, laptop or liquids in 3-1-1 compliant bags.*
The trial TSA screening program is currently offered throughout many major airports and is continually expanding to new locations:
Show and Go
When at one of the designated TSA expedited screening checkpoints, simply present your boarding pass and it will identify you as a program participant. It is that simple.
Get the latest program information, including a complete list of expedited screening locations, by visitingAA.com/tsascreening.