HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Frequent air travelers, expedited security screening is taking off at Honolulu International Airport.
The Transportation Security Administration's new pre-check lane there now allows pre-screened passengers to breeze through checkpoints.
Businessman Greg Carlson travels through airports weekly. Opting into TSA's pre-check program seemed a no-brainer.
"Leave your shoes on. Leave your laptop in the bag and go right through security. It's like going through security in the 1980's at airports! It's nice," says frequent flyer Carlson.
While others stand in long lines, pre-check passengers get their own, designated lane at Checkpoint 3 in Honolulu airport. Here, passengers most likely won't have to remove shoes, 3-1-1 compliant liquid/gel plastic bags, laptops, sweaters, jackets, or belts.
"We know that the majority of passengers aren't a risk to security, so by concentrating on those people that might present more of a risk, we're allowed to free up some of our resources," says TSA spokesman, Nico Melendez.
We mention pre-check passengers "most likely" won't have to remove shoes and other belongings, because, as an extra layer of security, the system can still randomly select them to be screened the usual way. But it's not often.
TSA's pre-check is only available on domestic flights. If any portion of your itinerary is international, you can't use it. It's also only open to U.S. citizens who fly Alaska, American, Delta, United, and U.S. Airways.
There are two ways to be eligible: the airlines invite frequent fliers who meet their certain criteria or, for a fee, you can be screened and enroll in Trusted Traveler programs like Global Entry, Nexus, and Sentri. (Global Entry, for instance, charges $100 for a 5 year pass). In both cases, passengers volunteer personal information - which is checked against the "No Fly" list.
Greg Carlson calls it a major timesaver. "I bet it's at least half an hour every time you go to the airport."
TSA says more than 3.5 million Americans have used pre-check since it launched the program last year. Now, they get to skip those long, sometimes frustrating, lines. It's available at 29 of the busiest American airports. TSA is hoping to increase that to 35 locations by the end of the year and to add more U.S. airlines into the program in 2013. Right now, Hawaiian Airlines is not a part of it, and Honolulu International is the only Hawaii airport where it's available.
For more detailed information on how you can be a part of the TSA pre-check program, log onto TSA.gov, globalentry.gov, or inquire with one of the airlines participating in the program.