TSA opens screening site for fliers

TSA opens screening site for fliers

March 6th, 2014 by Mike Pare in Business Around the Region

TSA SCREENING SITE

Office is located at 6231 Perimeter Dr. in Chattanooga. Hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to noon and 1-4:30 p.m.

The Chattanooga Airport terminal.

Photo by Dan Henry/Times Free Press.

Chattanooga area air travelers can quicken their way through the security checkpoint at Lovell Field, and at other airports, by enrolling at a new Transportation Security Administration office.

For an $85 fee, air travelers can gain expedited passenger status that will usually permit fliers to leave on their shoes, light outerwear and belt, keep their laptop in its case and have some liquids and gels bag in a carry-on bag.

TSA regional spokesman Mark Howell said the new Perimeter Drive office, located off Lee Highway near Highway 153, is one of 300 the federal agency is opening nationwide.

Howell said the TSA program doesn't guarantee 100 percent expedited screening, but "it's upping your percentage."

"There's a greater benefit for frequent travelers, but there are people who just want to save some time," he said. "We get people who only fly two or three times a year that want to save time."

Howell said Chattanooga Airport fliers won't have access to a dedicated lane as they will at some other airports because the Chattanooga airport doesn't have enough room.

But, if a person is approved, the traveler can get expedited screening through the airport checkpoint, he said.

Also, the TSA has expedited screening at 117 airports. Nine airlines participate in the program.

According to TSA, U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents can go through a pre-enrollment process online at www.TSA.gov. There, they can make an appointment and complete their enrollment at the Chattanooga application center to verify their identity, present documentation to confirm their citizenship and immigration status and provide fingerprints, TSA said.

Howell said travelers will receive a letter usually within 10 business days with a "known traveler number." When they book a flight, they or their travel agent need to plug in the number, which will show up when the boarding pass is printed out, he said. The number is valid for five years.

Howell said the TSA had been offering the program for about a month at a different temporary location in Chattanooga.

TSA began taking applications for the program nationally last Dec. 4.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318.