November 27, 2013

On busy day, traffic runs smoothly at Portland jetport

Officials say security lines were faster because of a TSA fast-track program.

By Jessica Hall
Staff Writer

The Portland International Jetport was calm on Wednesday with few flight delays and faster security lines that were shortened by a new expedited-screening program.

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John Patriquin/Staff Photographer Carl Fecteau traveled from Louisville to Portland and described his flight as the most bumpy in all his years of travel. He was met by Sonia Gagnon of Portland.

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Sumner Thompson of Phippsburg checks to make sure his Portland International Jetport flight is on time Wednesday. “I fly every week, and this is quiet for even a normal weekday,” Thompson said.

John Patriquin/Staff Photographer

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Travelers said they were pleased that crowds were scarce and security lines were moving on what is traditionally one of the busiest travel days of the year.

“I’m surprised how quiet it is. I fly every week, and this is quiet for even a normal weekday,” said Sumner Thompson of Phippsburg, who was traveling to Orlando.

During the morning and evening traveling rush, certain travelers were able to use the new expedited security process called TSA PreCheck.

Portland is one of roughly 100 airports nationally that use TSA PreCheck, which allows pre-approved travelers to avoid removing shoes, coats and belts while navigating security lines. The program also allows approved travelers to keep their laptops, as well as liquids and gels, in their bags.

The Transportation Security Administration uses the expedited security line only during peak traffic times during the day. The line is open daily from 5 a.m. to 6 a.m., from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., according to Ann Davis, public affairs manager for the northeast region for the TSA.

“The line has been working well. We use it in high-volume times – only when it’s needed at certain times of day,” Davis said.

By early evening, there had been only a handful of delayed flights into and out of the Jetport.

Portland launched expedited screening in October. At that time, the TSA said more than 18 million passengers nationally have used the faster system, which initially launched in Oct. 2011.

Expedited screening is available to certain members of frequent-flier programs of seven approved airlines, active-duty military personnel in good standing, as well as travelers in the federal government’s “trusted traveler programs.” The trusted traveler programs give international travelers expedited passage through U.S. Customs and Border Protection checkpoints.

Jessica Hall may be reached at 791-6316 or at:jhall@pressherald.comTwitter: @JessicaHallPPH

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Additional Photos

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John Patriquin/Staff Photographer Travelers at the Portland Jetport wait in a screening line, Wednesday, Nov.27, 2013.

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John Patriquin/Staff Photographer Jaci Sieven said her plane ride from Ft. Meyers, Fla., to Portland was a little rough.


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