More than 3,200 Alaskans are getting through airport security faster these days as members of TSA Pre-Check.
In Juneau, about 230 frequent flyers have been cleared for the expedited security program. The Transportation Security Administration has opened a capital city office, hoping to increase that number. It’s one of ten enrollment centers across the state.
Pre-Check allows airline passengers to leave on their shoes, light jacket and belt. Depending on the airport, laptop computers, liquids and gels can stay in a carry on.
At Juneau International Airport, liquids and laptops must still come out of a bag, but across the U.S., 118 larger airports have dedicated Pre-Check lanes, including Anchorage and Fairbanks.
While some travelers luck out and get the clearance on a flight now and then, TSA spokesperson Lorie Dankers says only a successful security check assures it.
“You’re volunteering some brief biographical information about yourself, verifying your identity, verifying that you’re a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident, and giving fingerprints so we can do a background check to make sure you don’t have any crimes that would disqualify you from being a low-risk traveler,” she says.
The application processing fee is $85. Those who qualify will get a Known Traveler Number to be used when booking flight reservations. The number is valid for five years. Individual reservations must include the KTN.
Some Pre-Check members say they find their KTN doesn’t guarantee expedited security. TSA travel tips indicate they may have to contact their air carrier for a solution. Eleven airlines participate in the program.
TSA has opened six Pre-Check enrollment centers in Southeast Alaska, including Juneau. The offices are not at airports, instead, Dankers says, it made sense to locate where maritime workers apply for their TSA Transportation Worker Identification Credential, or TWIC card.
“These weren’t new locations that were put in place. They are run by a TSA contractor, who handled our credentialing work. So when people go to apply for a TWIC, or renew their TWIC, they can apply for a TSA Pre-Check,” Dankers says.
The Juneau enrollment center is at 3161 Channel Drive. The other Southeast offices are in Craig, Ketchikan, Sitka, Skagway and Wrangell.
Editorial note: Information added to clarify some difficulty using KTN, and to add link to Pre-Check travel tips.