Eastern Iowa Air Travelers Could See Fewer Headaches at Security Checks

By B.A. Morelli, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - An expedited security screening process is coming to the Eastern Iowa Airport and should mean shorter lines and less waiting at security checkpoints.

Also, a new enrollment center for the Transportation Security Administration's program called TSA PreCheck opened at 625 1st Ave. SW in Cedar Rapids.

PreCheck approved travelers can use designated security lanes that don't require steps such as removing shoes, belts and light jackets, extracting laptops from cases or taking liquids out of carry-on luggage. The lanes are available at 115 airports, including Des Moines International Airport, on a flight-by-flight basis to travelers who qualify through a pre-screening enrollment process.

"I love it," said Scott Firmstone, who flew 100 segments and about 65,000 miles last year for his job in telecommunication sales. "You don't have to take off your belt, your shoes, get your laptop out of the bag, take out your liquids. It really saves a lot of time, and it's just less of a hassle."

At this point, the Eastern Iowa Airport has a subset of the benefits, primarily an aisle for PreCheck approved passengers to wear shoes through the security gates. That lane was opened on Tuesday, an airport spokeswoman said.

"It went well yesterday, but as far as trends I can't say yet how well it is working," said Heather Wilson, director of marketing and communication for the airport.

The rest of the features of PreCheck are expected to come to Cedar Rapids and will be available when TSA installs additional screening equipment, she said.

Those that want to participate in PreCheck can apply through a pre-enrollment process at the TSA.gov website. The registration process is completed in person at an enrollment center where applicants must provide fingerprints, biographical information, identification documents and payment. It cost $85 for a five-year membership.

Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways and Virgin America currently participate in PreCheck.

TSA PreCheck approved travelers, along with all travelers, will still be subject to random security measures.

A messages to a TSA spokesperson for additional information was not returned.
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