Singapore Airlines has become the latest – and first Asian – carrier to enable travellers to go through Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Precheck security screening when departing US airports.
The TSA Precheck system allows low-risk known travellers to pass through a separate security-screening lane during departure. These lanes offer expedited screening and reduced wait times, notably by not requiring travellers to remove their jackets, belts, laptops, liquids and shoes when passing through security.
While all US citizens and lawful permanent residents are able to make use of the system, certain non-US citizens can also enrol via Customs Border Protection (CBP) trusted traveller programmes. These notably include Nexus, Sentri and Global Entry, the latter of which is open to citizens from Singapore as well as Colombia, Germany, the Netherlands, Panama, South Korea, the UK and Mexico.
Travellers should present their Known Traveller Number to the airline during booking or check-in following enrolment in the TSA Precheck or other CBP programmes. Over the next few months, Singapore Airlines will be introducing the option of self-printed as well as mobile boarding passes to passengers to and from the US, further speeding up the pre-travel experience particularly for those with no check-in bags.
Singapore Airlines is not the only non-US carrier to join the TSA Precheck programme. Earlier this year, Virgin Atlantic became the first UK airline to offer the TSA Precheck service for passengers on its flights departing the US.
Security screening at US airports is itself undergoing a number of modernisations and improvements. In January, airport security company Clear announced it would begin offering biometric scanning to a further four US airports in 2017, bringing the total number of airports using the technology to 22. Biometric scanning comprises fingerprinting and iris scanning, and enables travellers to proceed through security screening without the need to show a boarding pass or ID.
Additionally, in August last year United Airlines began working with the TSA to upgrade airport security at its key US hubs, notably with the addition of automated screening lanes and redesigned security checkpoints, along with TSA Precheck enrolment centres.