For tourists blessed enough not to know, SSSS stands for Secondary Security Screening Collection. It’s the Transportation Safety Administration’s way of flagging airline travellers for “enhanced” screening. An SSSS code stamped on your boarding move overrides pre-approval by a Reliable Traveler Software these kinds of as TSA PreCheck and can include 15 to 45 minutes (or far more) to your boarding course of action.
Sadly, there are lots of groups of travelers who are no strangers to remaining flagged continuously for invasive TSA screenings. But for fliers privileged plenty of to have a ordinarily smooth procedure through stability, the SSSS codes can arrive as a shock.
I have traveled to additional than 70 international locations but hardly ever encountered the SSSS code until finally my associate and I returned from a month-extended journey to Turkey and Ga very last fall. Though we flew specifically from Istanbul to Dallas and breezed via immigration devoid of incident (many thanks, International Entry!), we have been SSSS’d 3 moments because: traveling from Dallas to Minneapolis, Minneapolis to New Orleans, and New Orleans to Minneapolis. In each individual occasion, the very first indicator that a little something was mistaken was our incapability to check out in on the web or at a self look at-in kiosk. Only when an airline agent printed our tickets did we see it: SSSS.
Just after approaching security, the TSA agent who scanned our boarding passes requested us to action aside even though he radioed his supervisor. “We bought a quad,” he explained. That is TSA shorthand for SSSS.
The screening was in depth: My associate and I ended up separated from our footwear, coats, and electronics asked to move by a metallic detector and physique scanner and then subjected to a comprehensive-human body pat down. Our palms and feet had been swabbed for trace explosives. Just about every inch of our carry-ons was unpacked and scrutinized same for the checked luggage. The TSA agents had been polite and experienced, but the delay approximately prompted us to overlook our flight.
“Years ago, you could travel like a rock star to where ever you liked, on small detect, with no itinerary, shell out in money, stay right away in party destinations, and do it all on a one-way ticket,” states Frank Harrison, regional protection director for North America and the U.K. at Environment Travel Protection. “The planet has transformed.”
One prevalent misunderstanding, states Harrison, is that countrywide aviation authorities like the TSA are the 1st screening line for travellers. It is basically the airline. “When you book a plane ticket in today’s digitized world, your airline submits your name, gender, and day of delivery to the TSA for clearance,” he claims. “Airlines are inspired to ensure you are TSA-permitted prior to you choose to the skies [because] there are fines for allowing uncleared travellers onto plane.”
New Jersey-centered travel agent and blogger Maddie Winters flies between 75,000 and 100,000 miles per yr. Irrespective of obtaining World wide Entry, she has been SSSS’d more than 8 periods. “It’s only on flights back to the U.S. and hardly ever domestic,” claims Winters, who noticed the pattern immediately after traveling via Africa and the Center East. Her newest SSSS, on the other hand, arrived on the heels of a vacation to Costa Rica in September. Just one prospective induce? Scheduling two weeks out.