WASHINGTON — A new passenger screening program to make check-in more convenient for certain travelers is being expanded to 28 more major U.S. airports, the government said Wednesday. There will be no cost to eligible passengers, who would no longer have to remove their shoes and belts before they board flights.
The airports include the three used by hijackers to launch the terror attacks in September 2001: Washington Dulles International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey and Boston’s Logan International Airport.
The Transportation Security Administration’s program, already in a test phase in seven airports, including Atlanta, is the Obama administration’s first attempt at a passenger screening program responsive to frequent complaints that the government is not using common sense when it screens all passengers at airports in the same way. Under the new program, eligible travelers have the option to volunteer more personal information about themselves so that the government can vet them for security purposes before they arrive at airport checkpoints.
Eligible travelers are some of those who participate in American and Delta airlines’ frequent flier programs, as well as travelers in three other trusted traveler programs run by the Customs and Border Protection agency, which do charge fees to participate. About 336,000 passengers have been screened through the program since the testing began last year, according to the TSA.