by Michael J. Shapiro | November 14, 2013
The Transportation Security Administration announced Thursday that passengers flying Southwest Airlines would now be eligible for the PreCheck expedited screening program. That brings the total to eight participating airlines, the others being Alaska, American, Delta, Hawaiian, United, US Airways and Virgin America. Participating airlines currently must invite U.S. citizens who are members of their respective frequent-flyer programs to become eligible; once eligible, those passengers can be issued boarding passes embedded with a code that allows them to use expedited security lines. PreCheck passengers can leave on their shoes, light outerwear and belts, and might not have to remove laptops or compliant liquids from their bags for screening. U.S. and Canadian citizens who are members of a trusted traveler program might also be eligible for PreCheck. Later this year, the TSA will launch an application process so that additional travelers can enroll in the program. "The recent trend in federal aviation policy has been decidedly pro-traveler," noted U.S. Travel Association president and CEO Roger Dow, "and the more people travel, the better it is for U.S. economic and job growth."