TSA offers faster security checks at Louis Armstrong Airport

Travelers flying out of Louis Armstrong International Airport who are willing to submit to a background check and give their fingerprints and other personal information can arrange quicker trips through airport security by signing up for the Transportation Safety Administration’s new PreCheck program.

The TSA announced Wednesday that it has opened application centers throughout the state — including sites in New Orleans, Mandeville, Brusly, Lafayette and New Iberia — for people interested in registering for the program. Appointments can be made through the TSA’s website.

The program allows flyers to go through special security lanes without taking off their shoes, belts and light jackets, removing laptops from their cases or taking small containers of liquids out of their carry-on luggage.

A similar service already exists for frequent flyers on certain airlines or through a program run by the U.S. Customs Service, but the TSA said the program has been expanded more broadly.

TSA Administrator John S. Pistole said in a news release that the program “is enabling us to move away from a one-size-fits-all approach to transportation security, as we look for more opportunities to provide the most effective security in the most efficient way.”

Louis Armstrong Airport is the only Louisiana airport among the roughly 100 that are participating in the program.

Registration must be done in person. Appointments through the website are encouraged, though walk-ins will be accepted at enrollment centers if there is a slot available. Appointments can be made no more than 30 days in advance.

Applicants must be U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents without certain criminal convictions. They must present a valid U.S. passport or a valid driver’s license and U.S. birth certificate. A full list of alternate forms of identification is available on the TSA website.

The $85 application fee is nonrefundable, which the TSA said is due to the cost of a background check.

Approved passengers are given a Known Traveler Number that is good for five years, which they can use to access the faster security lanes. The numbers can often be entered when a flight is booked, in frequent-flyer profiles or at check-in at the airport.

Participating airlines are Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways and Virgin America.

The program doesn’t prevent travelers from being tapped for random searches, the TSA said.