Pre-check may ease airport security screening

Frequent fliers among Hawaii’s four major islands will have the option to participate in a pre-check program allowing them to pass more quickly through security checkpoints at Kahului, Kona and Lihue airports, U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz announced Wednesday.

The Transportation Security Administration is expanding its “PreCheck” program in Hawaii, Schatz said, adding the Neighbor Island airports to the list of airports already with the option. Honolulu International Airport already has the pre-check program, and the number of lanes available will be expanded, he said.

Schatz has been seeking authorization from TSA to expand the program.

The senator sent TSA Administrator John Pistole a letter in June requesting the agency include Neighbor Island airports in the program.

Extending the program within Hawaii will allow for more efficient interisland travel, he said.

“As an island state, Hawaii has unique travel needs,” Schatz said. “By making it easier for the 16,000 to 18,000 passengers who travel daily between the four major islands to commute, we are allowing room for economic growth and expansion.”

The PreCheck program enables low-risk passengers to move more quickly through checkpoint screening while allowing TSA to focus on passengers considered higher risk, the senator said.

Passengers participating in pre-check lanes are not required to remove shoes and outerwear, or laptops from bags.

According to the TSA’s website, passengers who are eligible for the pre-check program include U.S. citizens who are on frequent flier programs with participating airlines. Hawaiian Airlines, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, U.S. Airways and Virgin America are among participating carriers.