TSA eases screening procedures for older travelers

Sea-Tac security line

 

Here’s good news for travelers aged 75 and older.

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

Tested since March, 2011 at airports in Chicago, Denver, Orlando and Portland, Ore., the new measures mirror those instituted nationwide last fall for children age 12 and under. That means elderly travelers will no longer have to remove their shoes and light outwear during screening. They will also be allowed a “do-over” through the advanced imaging technology to clear any anomalies.

The new rules will go into effect at all airports by the end of the summer, but no schedule or list has been released that reveals which airport will join the program when.

n a statement released late Friday, TSA 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 implemented several initiatives designed to ease screening requirements for many passengers, including PreCheck, an expedited screening program now in place at 15 airports, with plans to add about 20 more airports by the end of the year.

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