SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – A new program being phased in at key airports across the country to speed up security lines was unveiled at San Francisco International Airport on Thursday.

To enroll in TSA PreCheck, frequent fliers must ask an airline to forward information to the Transportation Security Information which can be used to perform a background check, said TSA spokesman Nico Melendez.

KCBS’ Holly Quan Reports:

“People that meet a threshold for certain frequent flier programs, in this case United and American, will go through a separate lane at the security checkpoint,” Melendez said.

Those passengers will not have to remove their shoes and outer coats or take their laptops out of the bag, he said.

Unlike CLEAR, the recently revived registered traveler program, passengers eligible for TSA PreCheck do not pay a fee.

Since it was announced earlier this year, the program has reached 31 airports across the U.S.

“Basically, it’s allowing us to shrink the size of the haystack. We know that we’re looking for certain individuals and this allows us to shrink the haystack so we can find what we’re looking for a little easier.”

Passengers who had used the program in Los Angeles and Chicago said it sometimes reduced the amount of time at the security gate to just a few seconds.

Those who don’t fly often enough to qualify can also sign up through a Customs and Border Protection Traveler program such as Global Entry, which uses a background check to expedite entry into the U.S. Passing that same check would qualify a passenger for TSA PreCheck.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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