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TSA PreCheck Program To Expand To O’Hare, 27 Other New Airports

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TSA Screens Passengers At O'Hare Airport. (Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

TSA Screens Passengers At O’Hare Airport. (Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Frequent fliers should soon be able to avoid the hassle of removing their shoes or belts, or taking their laptops out of their luggage when they pass through security checkpoints at O’Hare International Airport and dozens of other airports.

As CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reports, frequent fliers who meet certain requirements could soon enroll in a new federal program that could be in place by the end of the year at 28 airports nationwide, including O’Hare.

To take part in the Transportation Security Administration’s “PreCheck” program those fliers would have to undergo rigorous background checks and take part in an interview before they are enrolled.

The program is already in place at seven airports, but only for passengers on Delta or American airlines.

It’s a familiar routine for airline passengers to wait in long lines at security and take off their shoes and belts and take their laptops out of their bags for screening.

But, for frequent travelers enrolling in the TSA PreCheck program, all of those security formalities could be a thing of the past.

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said, “This could include no longer having to remove shoes, laptops, jackets or belts.”

Traveler Jerry Jennings said, “Oh, that would be a great thing. I’d really enjoy that. It would be a time saver.”

The TSA has tested the PreCheck program at seven of the nation’s busiest airports. The goal is to add the program at O’Hare and 27 other airports this year.

United, U.S. Airways and Alaska Airlines would take part. Frequent fliers would need to register at globalentery.gov and provide personal information.

“As long as they have all of my information in the system, I think they should let business travelers check in, in this expedited way,” Jennings said.

While some passengers said they see the benefits in this program, there are some who have concerns.

“It is a little odd that some people have to go through one step and others that don’t. So, I do have a problem with that,” Mitchell Roberts said.

TSA Administrator John S. Pistole said, “What TSA PreCheck does is it allows us to spend more time on those that we know the least about – only name, date of birth, and gender – through a secure flight, or that we know the most about because they are on a terrorist watch list.”

Those enrolled in the program will have their information embedded in the bar code of their boarding pass, so they may enter a TSA PreCheck lane to get through security faster.

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