Federal authorities are expanding access to the speedier security lines at the Ted Stevens International Airport this week.
An Anchorage enrollment center at 3801 Old Seward Highway began processing Transportation Security Administration's PreCheck applications Tuesday. People who pass the application process and pay the fee no longer have to ditch their belts, shoes and light jackets when walking through security's X-ray scanner. Laptops and liquids can remain packed in carry-on bags.
TSA debuted the PreCheck program in Anchorage in December 2012. Back then people only qualified for the fast-paced lines through the existing U.S. Custom and Border Protection's Global Entry program and frequent flier programs. TSA also funneled some passengers who they deemed "low-risk" into PreCheck lines on a flight-by-flight basis, said Lorie Dankers, TSA spokeswoman.
Now people can directly apply for PreCheck online and complete the application process in person at the Anchorage center. The application fee is $85 and the approval is good for 5 years.
"It's a great investment," Dankers said.
To qualify, a person must be a U.S. citizen or a Lawful Permanent Resident with a clean criminal record. At the enrollment center, the person must provide biographical information, fingerprints and validate identification.
The application fee is non-refundable, Dankers said. Approved applicants will receive a Known Traveler Number in the mail to use when making airline reservations.
The PreCheck program expansion is part of TSA's move away from a "one-size-fits-all approach" to risk-based security, Dankers said.
John Parrott, manager at the Ted Stevens International Airport, said the PreCheck program allows the airport to increase its capacity.
"It is much faster for those who are seasoned travelers," Parrot said. "It enables them to get through the processing much more quickly and therefore benefits the airport by getting more people through screening."
TSA is in the process of adding more than 300 application centers nationwide. In Alaska, enrollment centers in Fairbanks, Juneau, Ketchikan, Kodiak, Sitka, Skagway, Soldotna, Valdez and Wrangell have opened in the past week.
Reach Tegan Hanlon at firstname.lastname@example.org or 257-4589.
TSA PreCheck Program
Online application: universalenroll.dhs.gov
Where: 3801 Old Seward Highway, Suite 2
Hours: Tuesday and Wednesday, 8 a.m. to noon and 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Appointments and walk-ins accepted