Trusted Traveler Pilot Program Announced for American and Delta Flyers
Starting this fall, frequent travelers flying on American Airlines out of Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) and Miami (MIA) and on Delta Airlines out of Atlanta (ATL) and Detroit (DTW) airports will be part of a pilot program that will allow them to forgo some aspects of security checkpoint searches.
Those participating in the program will no longer have to remove jackets and shoes and take computers out of carry-on bags. These passengers will probably be screened by going through magnetometers instead of the full-body imagers that have been the subject of significant controversy since their deployment.
In addition to certain members of American’s frequent flyer program who fly out of DFW and Delta’s program who fly out of ATL, U.S. citizens who are already members of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency’s Trusted Traveler programs, which include Global Entry, Sentri, and Nexus, will also be eligible for the pilot program.
The TSA plans to expand the program to include additional airlines including Alaska Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, and US Airways as well as additional airports in the U.S. although a timetable has not yet been announced.
The new trusted traveler program is voluntary and restricted to U.S citizens. Once implemented, the program could serve to greatly improve overall airport security by allowing screeners to focus on travelers who may present a greater risk.
In testimony to Congress earlier this year, TSA administrator John Pistole told lawmakers that a trusted traveler program would not entitle travelers to expedited screenings but rather would be promise the “likelihood…of some type of streamlined processing screening at a checkpoint.”