Ah. Airport security. Going though that arduous journey can take a lifetime, but if there are four little letters on your boarding pass you are screwed for even more screening, and can ruin your day. Many passengers on flights within or heading for the U.S.A. may find the dreaded “SSSS” printed on their boarding passes, it was pointed out this week that stands for “Secondary Security Screening Selection”. It can entail a 10 point review of your eligibility, which takes thirty additional minutes of screening that involves a thorough search of your bags, you, your body cavity, and questioning about your travel plans and additional body scans. Unless something odd turns up, you’ll board as usual after the screening is complete.
TSA’S AGENDA, YOUR PROBLEM, SPREAD’EM WIDE
The Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Secure Flight program, which is currently responsible for that “SSSS” code, has been around since 2010 and was birthed from laws passed after the September 11th attacks. Travelers report seeing the “SSSS” code on their boarding passes years before that, so it’s likely that another government program used the code earlier, according to TSA spokesman Mike England.
SSSS, YOU COULD BE A TERRORIST, OR A REGULAR JOE
Today, the “SSSS” code is printed on travelers’ boarding passes if they appear on an FBI counterterrorism watchlist called the Selectee List, England said. Others are assigned the “SSSS” code at random. “Secure Flight is a risk-based passenger prescreening program that enhances security by identifying low and high-risk passengers before they arrive at the airport by matching their names against trusted traveler lists and watchlists,”
HOW TO AVOID THE SSSS, SOMETIMES, DON”T LET IT RUIN YOUR DAY
You may be more likely to wind up with the code if you booked your flight last-minute, booked a one-way ticket or are returning from a high-risk country. It seems that our boarding passes get the “SSSS” code on every airport visit after taking a trip to Turkey, for reasons unknown.
It’s normal for travelers to get the “SSSS” code every once in a while, but if it happens frequently, you may be on a watchlist by mistake which sucks bad. You can contact the government’s Traveler Redress Inquiry Program for any issues related to screening delays and request a review. Meanwhile, cross your fingers and read up on how to breeze through security with ease. Cross your fingers and don’t let it ruin your day.