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Travelers May See Shorter Wait Times at Anchorage Airport

Published On: Dec 24 2013 04:16:31 PM AKST   Updated On: Dec 14 2013 04:49:53 PM AKST

By Reporter Samantha Angaiak and Photojournalist Shawn Wilson.  (KTUU-TV)


Anyone planning to travel this winter may notice security lines moving faster, especially passengers approved to fly before arriving at the airport.

The Transportation Security Administration recently expanded its pre-check program, which expedites the screening process.

5,500 to 6,000 passengers arrive or depart Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport daily.

The airport  became the 33rd airport in the country to adopt the pre-check program for frequent flyers last year. More than 100 airports currently offer expedited screening.

The expansion means more pre-cleared passengers that are considered "low risk" will be allowed to keep their shoes, outer layers and belts on to keep their laptops inside their carriers as they go through the security process.

Sudie Hargis, a frequent flier who uses pre-check regularly says she likes the idea of the expansion.

"Expanding it would bring more people in, but it's not going to overwhelm the system," Hargis said. "it gets the low risk people out of the regular boarding line so it helps the whole public."

Jim Koehn, another busy traveler says he's slightly hesitant about the expansion because he had to go through a process that he thinks others won't have to do.

"I ended up paying a whole bunch of money to go through the process and had to travel to go through the process initially, so I'm kind of jealous," Koehn said. "It made me concerned that if I had waited 6 months or a year, I could have saved myself traveling 400 miles to get the process approved."

To become eligible, passengers can opt in with invitations from participating airlines, apply through Borders and Customs traveler protection programs, complete an in person interview and take their fingerprints.

Lorie Dankers, Public Affairs Manager for the TSA says while the process is quicker, there are still important security measures that take place for every passenger.

"Every passenger is still screened and every alarm is still resolved," Dankers said. "Every passenger will go through a screening experience, every alarm will be resolved so we're not just allowing people to go through."

TSA is working on opening an application center at the airport early next year.