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Few will benefit immediately from BWI’s new TSA lane

BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport opened a new Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Pre-check lane Tuesday, making for two locations in the airport where select passengers can experience the luxury of wearing shoes and belts, keeping their laptops and toiletries bagged.

BWI_airport_terminalBut while the airport touted its doubling of such locations, a small fraction of a minority of passengers can use these lanes immediately.

Seven of BWI’s airlines have agreed to participate, but Southwest Airlines — the airline of choice for 71 percent of BWI fliers — has not yet joined in.

Southwest has plans to participate in TSA Pre-check beginning with a phased rollout, but a spokesperson for the airlines could not say exactly when that will be.

JetBlue is also listed as “coming soon” to Pre-check in the airport’s announcement.

For passengers flying on Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways or Virgin America, only the following are allowed to use this expedited option:

  • Frequent fliers
  • U.S. citizen members of Customer and Border Control Protection Trusted Traveler programs
  • Canadian citizen members of NEXUS (a trusted traveler program)
  • U.S. Armed Forces members with a Common Access Card
  • Passengers selected using TSA Secure Flight System requirements
  • Passengers age 12 and under who are flying with an eligible flier

So, until Southwest gets with the program, most of BWI’s passengers will just have to wait.

And after that, well … most fliers will still just have to wait.