Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Guest Column- Fact Check- Standard Screening vs. Pre-Check Screening

By Brian Holland 
President of Point Security Inc., a certified small business with over twenty-five years of experience providing sales and service of security screening equipment throughout the United States and the Caribbean. He enjoys educating individuals on ways they can better secure their facility. 

Have you ever wondered why some people at the airport seem to breeze through security checkpoints while you are stuck in a lengthy and aggravating line? Chances are they have TSA (Transportation Security Administration's) pre-check: an option available to fliers so they don't have to stand in regular airport security lines. Having TSA pre-check means that you have already gone through extensive security assurance with regulated personnel prior to flying and simply don't have to do it again, in as great of detail when arriving at the airport.

What is a pre-check?

TSA pre-check:

-          You will never wait more than 5 minutes to go through security
-          3+ million members have taken advantage of this option
-          180+ airports and 16 airlines have TSA Pre-check
-          Completely expedited method of travel

With TSA Pre-check, you no longer will be asked to remove your shoes, take out your laptop, take off your belt, or remove your jacket. All you are required to do is walk through an x-ray machine and be on your way.  The hassle of going through security is almost totally eliminated. This is a great time-saving option for those who are frequent fliers or for those who tend to continuously run late, not leaving much time to catch their flight.

How Can I Get Pre-Check?

1.     Apply online: all you have to do is schedule an appointment at one of the offered enrollment centers
2.     Get a background check: during your appointment, you will be required to submit a background check along with fingerprinting
3.     Add your KTN (Known Traveler Number) when booking your flight ticket reservation and breeze through security

Standard Screening Procedures

Screening can sometimes be a hassle, but it must be done. These security measures are in place so that fellow passengers and aircraft personnel can be reassured that every single flier has gone through security and that they are nonhazardous and risk-free.

With advancements in technology, it is now the norm for individuals to have to walk through an x-ray machine and get a metal detector screening over their body. This can be a lengthy process because:

- Everyone must remove their shoes, belts, jackets, earrings, and wallets
- Remove laptops from cases and place in bins
- Remove all liquids and gels and place them in a bin to prepare them for screening
- If metal is detected, flier must remove the item and go back through security, slowing everyone down

There is standard protocol that every airport around the world must adhere to in order to verify that fliers are eligible to fly without any harmful weapons or prohibited items. If you are above the age of 75, you are not required to remove your shoes or jacket when going through security checkpoints. This also applies when traveling with children that are under the age of two, although they are still required to go through screening.

Some prohibited items that both Pre-check and standard fliers cannot fly with due to the fact that they are highly flammable are:

-          Aerosols
-          Dynamite
-          Chlorine for swimming pools/spas
-          E-Cigarettes
-          fireworks
-          Spray paint
-          Torch lighters

The penalties for traveling with and getting caught with prohibited items are very hefty, even if they were accidentally packed. Prior to setting out to the airport, double check that your carry-on item and your checked baggage does not contain any of the forbidden items.

 What To Know About Screening Technology

At almost all airports across the globe, TSA uses millimeter wave (AIT) advanced imaging technology as well as walk-through metal detectors. These methods are highly effective and pose no harm or pain to passengers. Those who do not feel comfortable going through the detectors have the option to get a pat down know as physical screening.

Is AIT safe for my health?

The answer is yes. These advanced imaging machines meet national health and safety regulations and use non-ionizing radio-frequency energy which pose no harmful health consequences to individuals. This form of security assurance is also completely private and images are eliminated right after the passenger has left the imaging station.

Fact: As of 2007, full-body scanners began replacing metal detectors making going through security quicker and more efficient.

Whether you have Global Entry, TSA Pre-Check, or simply a boarding pass, always be sure to leave adequate time when you know that you have a flight to catch. Always account for delays and unexpected occurrences as they can slow the security process down substantially, leaving you stressed and irritated. A great way to make your airport experience easy is to check in before arriving at the airport so you can go straight to security and not have to meet with an agent at the airport to print off your boarding pass. 

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