TSA opens enrollment centers for expedited airport security program

A program intended to zip people through airport security lines expanded in the Washington area Monday as the Transportation Security Administration opened three enrollment centers.

The move is part of TSA Administrator John S. Pistole’s drive to lessen the burden and focus on average passengers so that security workers can spend more time looking for people who pose a genuine threat. Travelers who use the TSA’s Pre-Check program can keep their shoes, belts and sweaters on and do not have to pull their laptops from cases or display their bags of liquids in special airport checkpoint lines. Their carry-on luggage will still pass through X-ray machines, and they still must step through metal detectors.

Enrollment in the program begins online. Then applicants will need to spend about 10 minutes (not counting any wait time) at an enrollment center signing up for the program, the TSA said. The program requires a background check, fingerprints and an $85 fee for a five-year enrollment. A passport, required for some other programs, is not necessary, but verification of identity and citizenship or approved immigrant status is needed.

More than 25 million fliers have used the security program since its soft rollout in 2011, according to the TSA. Once an application is approved, passengers will receive a Known Traveler Number, which makes them eligible to use expedited security lines in more than 100 airports and on nine airlines: Alaska, American, Delta, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Southwest, United, US Airways and Virgin America.

The three centers in the Washington area are in Alexandria at 3139 Duke St., below the Lone Star Steakhouse; in La Plata, Md., in the White Plains Corporate Business Park, 10665 Stanhaven Pl., Suite 300A; and in Dundalk, Md., at the Point Breeze Business Center, 2200 Broening Hwy., Suite 110.

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Ashley Halsey reports on national and local transportation.
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