TSA protocol changes at start of holiday season

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The holiday season inevitably involves long lines at department stores, scavenging for ingredients at the grocery store, and for some, racing through the MSP International airport jetting off to faraway destinations. But this holiday season at the airport will be different than the rest, as the TSA will introduce a variety of new security initiatives designed to keep passengers safe. Some travelers now find themselves in a frantic disarray of misconceptions and warranted worries about what these new programs may bring.

One of these new additions comes as an extension of the TSA Pre-Check program, designed to eliminate some of the inconvenient hassles that come with airport security. “The PreCheck Application will get you out of the typical security lines and the waits, as well as the myriad of taking off your shoes, belt and jacket along with no required removal of laptop or little bags or liquids,” Douglas, a TSA Customer Care Representative who declined to give a last name, said.

While this program is not available at every airport, MSP International does provide the service for select passengers at Terminal 1. “Hopefully it will still be available to travelers yet in 2013. A person will have access to the faster security lines in close to 100 airports,” Douglas said.

I have had people call in to voice they were not happy with the changes that Pre-Crime Assessment seems like a violation of privacy. However, I have probably had three times more people on calls express they supported the data checks and that it made them feel safer.”

— Douglas

Beyond the extension of the Pre-Check program, TSA has introduced the Pre-Crime Assessment initiative in time for the holiday rush. Over the past six months, the administration has begun a more in-depth pre-screening process, examining more than the previous gender, name, and date of birth. “Your personal information is now checked, for example, tax records, past travel itineraries, property records, physical characteristics, law enforcement or intelligence information, passport data, DOB, criminal background check, to name a few,” Douglas said.

For some, this screening is a well needed program that has been lacking for quite sometime, but for others this is seen as an overarching hand by an already massive security complex. “I have had people call in to voice they were not happy with the changes that Pre-Crime Assessment seems like a violation of privacy. However, I have probably had three times more people on calls express they supported the data checks and that it made them feel safer,” Douglas said.

Rounding out the list of announcements in time for this travel season was TSA’s decision to not lift the ban on pocket knives. “The flight attendant and pilots unions were extremely vocal indicating they did not want the changes.  I don’t foresee this being discussed in the near future as the reaction was so strong,” Douglas said.

So whether it’s a short plane ride to Duluth, a tropical getaway to Hawaii, or an international vacation, there will be some notable differences at the airport this holiday season, in order to improve passenger security.

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