The ability to breeze through airport security usually costs travelers extra fees, but some lucky people are getting to use the service for free this holiday season.
Frank Veltri was one of the lucky travelers Friday.
“I looked at my boarding pass and sure enough it said pre-check,” says Veltri.
“And on our ticket it said we could go straight through. We were just selected,” adds Billie Farrelly of Hayward.
Selected at random, these travelers got to breeze through the special pre-check line with their laptops tucked away, their jackets on and shoes comfortably on their feet.
“It was wonderful. It saved so much time!” says Farrelly.
The program has been rolled out at 100 airports over the last 60 days, Oakland International Airport being one of the chosen ones.
TSA says they’re getting rid of what they call a one-size fits all philosophy toward security and focusing on a risk-based one.
“This is the single most important cultural change in security for TSA in the history of our organization,” says James Adams, the Federal Security Director for Oakland International and three other airports.
Technology and data-gathering now allow the TSA to deem some travelers low-risk, and of those, a percentage will be chosen for the special security line.
“It doesn’t diminish screening, it gives us a chance to focus greater on the people we don’t know a lot about,” says Adams.
The changes come as welcome holiday good news at Oakland International Airport.
“It really speeds things up for travelers. It allows TSA to focus its limited resources on areas where they’re most needed,” says airport spokesman Scott Wintner.