New TSA Airport Sceening Rules for Seniors

TSA announces new rules for travelers aged 75 and older.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has announced that it has finished up a four-airport pilot program and will start offering modified checkpoint screening to all passengers age 75 and older at airports nationwide.

The program which has been tested since March 2011 at selected airports around the country in cities like Chicago, Denver, Orlando and Portland, the new rules are same as those instituted across the nation last fall for children ages 12 and under. So now with the new rules in effect senior travelers will no longer have to remove their shoes and light jackets or sweaters during the screening process any longer. They will also be allowed a “do-over” through the advanced imaging technology to clear any anomalies.

The long awaited change to the new rules are set to go into effect at all airports by the end of the summer of 2012.

In a statement released by the TSA they said it anticipates these changes “will further reduce – though not eliminate – the need for a physical pat-down for these passengers,” but that travelers may still be required to remove their shoes or undergo a pat-down “if anomalies are detected during security screening that cannot be resolved through other means.”

In the past year, TSA has made quite a few changes to airport security designed to ease screening requirements for many passengers, one of the most prominent being PreCheck, an expedited screening program now in place at 15 airports around the country, with TSA planning to add about 20 more airports to that list by the end of the year. Most participants are selected frequent flyers from participating airline carriers.
If a traveler passes the TSA Pre-Check background check information will be embedded in the barcode of their boarding pass allowing them to proceed directly to the Pre-Check lane, where they undergo expedited screening, sometimes allowing fliers to keep their shoes, jackets and belts on, their laptops in their bag.

The TSA Contact Center (TCC) hours of operation have also recently been extended. Now airline passengers with questions or concerns about TSA procedures can now reach the TSA Contact Center  (866-289-9673) from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m. (Eastern) Monday through Friday, and on weekends and holidays from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. (Eastern).

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