Changes at Eastern Iowa Airport could lead to smoother security checks

TSA PreCheck allows some travelers to use designated security lanes

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An expedited security screening process is coming to The Eastern Iowa Airport and should mean shorter lines and less waiting at security checkpoints.

After an online screening, travelers can register for the program called the Transportation Security Administration PreCheck at a new Cedar Rapids enrollment center, which opened about two weeks ago.

PreCheck-approved travelers can use designated security lanes that don't require steps such as removing shoes, belts and light jackets, extracting laptops from cases or taking liquids out of carry-on luggage.

The lanes are available to those that qualify at 115 airports, including Des Moines International Airport, on a flight-by-flight basis.

"I love it," said Scott Firmstone, who flew 100 segments and about 65,000 miles last year for his job in telecommunication sales. "You don't have to take off your belt, your shoes, get your laptop out of the bag, take out your liquids. It really saves a lot of time, and it's just less of a hassle."

At this point, The Eastern Iowa Airport has a subset of the benefits, primarily allowing PreCheck-approved passengers to wear shoes through the security gates. That began on Tuesday, an airport spokeswoman said.

"It went well yesterday, but as far as trends I can't say yet how well it is working," said Heather Wilson, director of marketing and communication for the airport.

The rest of the features of PreCheck are expected to come to Cedar Rapids and will be available when TSA installs additional screening equipment, she said. Wilson nor a TSA spokeswoman could say when the expanded PreCheck would begin.

Those that want to participate in PreCheck can apply through a pre-enrollment process at the website. The registration process is completed in person at an enrollment center where applicants must provide fingerprints, biographical information, identification documents and payment.

It cost $85 for a five-year membership.

Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways and Virgin America currently participate in PreCheck.

TSA PreCheck-approved travelers will still be subject to random security measures.

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