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TSA Updates Screening Process for Children, Elderly, and Trusted Travelers

Last Updated On: 12/28/2012

Weary travelers, despair not - the panjandrums of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) have heard your endless complaints about the hassles at the airport security lines.

Bowing to vociferous criticism of the shabby treatment meted out to young children and the elderly at the airports, the Transportation Security Administration recently made changes to its screening process to help children and seniors move faster through airport checkpoints without comprising on the security of all travelers.

Trusted travelers too get some benefits under the changes.

Here are some of the changes to the screening process:

New Screening Process for Children

Children, 12 or younger, can now go through airport security without taking off their shoes. Well, that should make the mothers happy considering it's they who shoulder the burden of making sure the kids remove their shoes, put them on properly and wait for the rest of the family to get to the other side of the security checkpoint.

To minimize pat-downs, children are now allowed to go through metal detectors and body scanners several times to clear any alarms.

TSA officials say as per existing policy they will never separate children from parents or guardians.

Travelers with small children can continue to take more than 3.4 ounces of liquid, such as breast milk, juice and medicines

Changes for the Elderly

Treating elderly travelers as if they were serious security threats has rightly come under frequent criticsm from various quarters.

So it's nice to notice that screening changes for passengers who are 75 years or older are similar to the screening procedure for children.

Elderly people will also be able to move through airport security without removing their shoes.

They can also go through a security checkpoint without removing a light jacket.

To minimize pat-downs, the elderly will be able to go through the metal detector and body scanners several times to clear any alarms.

By the way, the TSA has set up a hotline to answer questions about the security process for passengers with disabilities and medical issues.

The toll-free number is 1-855-787-2227.

Ensure that you call the hotline 72 hours before traveling so you have enough time to make any changes before going through security.

New Program for Frequent Travelers

For frequent travelers, the TSA has a new program to help them move through security checkpoints faster.

The program is called "TSA Pre" and is available in more than 30 U.S. airports to frequent passengers.

But the TSA Pre program is available only on a limited number of airlines, including Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Airlines and United Airlines.

Travelers who enroll in the program do not need to take off their shoes and belts while proceding through security.

Enrollees can also keep their computers inside their bags and go through security without taking off a light jacket

Visit GlobalEntry.gov to enroll in the "TSA Pre" program.