Singapore Airlines offers expedited screening in US airports for 'low-risk known travellers'

A Singapore Airlines (SIA) aircraft at the Changi Airport. SIA will be offering expedited screening for "low-risk" passengers at US airports.
A Singapore Airlines (SIA) aircraft at the Changi Airport. SIA will be offering expedited screening for "low-risk" passengers at US airports.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE - Singapore Airlines (SIA) is offering eligible passengers travelling to the US expedited security screening, the first Asian airline to do so.

The airline is now part of  the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) Precheck (Pre) programme. Six other airlines were added to the programme: Copa Airlines, Dominican Wings, InterCaribbean Airways, Silver Airways, Swift Air, and Turkish Airlines.

This brings the number of participating airlines to 37 domestic and international carriers.

"TSA Pre enables low-risk known travellers to enjoy the programme's benefits while reducing checkpoint wait times," SIA said on Friday (May 26).

"This provides a separate lane for security screening during departure, where the traveller does not have to remove jackets, belts, laptops, liquids and shoes.

Enrolment in the TSA Pre programme is open to US citizens and lawful permanent residents.

Non-US citizens may also enjoy the benefits of the programme through Customs Border Protection (CBP) trusted traveller programmes, such as Global Entry, Nexus and Sentri.

Singapore citizens are eligible to apply for the Global Entry Programme, which is also open to citizens from Colombia, Germany, Netherlands, Panama, South Korea, United Kingdom, and Mexican nationals. Applicants have to pay a non-refundable fee of US$100 (S$138). 

Successful applicants of TSA Pre or other trusted traveller programmes will receive a Known Traveler Number (KTN) which may be provided to the airline during booking or check-in.

Once the customers' KTN is recognised, the TSA Pre logo will be printed on their boarding pass, indicating that their KTN has been captured in their booking record.

Customers can provide their KTN across SIA's various check-in or booking channels, including its call agents, online reservations system, and website check-in via or SingaporeAir mobile app, in addition to checking in at the airport counter.

Children aged 12 and under may also enjoy the benefits of TSA Pre if they are travelling with passengers who have a valid KTN.

As a partner airline under the TSA Pre programme, SIA will also be able to offer customers travelling to and from the US an option of having a self-printed boarding pass and/or mobile boarding pass. This will be implemented next month, the airline said.

Travellers without check-in bags can then check in online and proceed directly to the gate at the airport.

Airports around the world have tightened screening procedures in the wake of terrorist attacks.

In March, US and British officials announced a ban on electronic items larger than a cellphone aboard certain direct inbound flights after intelligence reports surfaced showing that Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) had developed - or would soon be able to develop - the technology to build a bomb that could be hidden in a laptop.