Air travelers can apply for security clearance in BR

The Transportation Security Administration has set up an enrollment center in Baton Rouge, its 10th in Louisiana, to help frequent air travelers get to their plane more quickly and with less hassle.

The TSA Precheck program, started in 2011, allows U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents to go through advanced screenings prior to travel, then bypass certain security measures at the airport.

TSA spokeswoman Sari Koshetz said Thursday that the agency quietly launched the application office at 4305 Bluebonnet Blvd. a few weeks ago.

Applicants begin the process online at TSA.gov. At the center, they complete the process by submitting documentation and fingerprints. The program costs $85 and the precheck is good for five years.

Nine airlines are participating.

Travelers who enroll in the program have dedicated lanes they can use at 118 airports and counting across the country, including Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport in New Orleans.

Koshetz made the announcement at Metro Airport.

She said TSA has no plans to set up a dedicated lane at that airport, citing budget limitations.

She added prescreened travelers will still have privileges in Baton Rouge.

“Those privileges include not having to take off your shoes, your belt or your light outer jacket,” she said.

Travelers in Baton Rouge still will have to remove laptops from their computer bags and will have to pull out for inspection small amounts of liquids contained in a clear plastic bags, she said.

Other enrollment centers in Louisiana are in New Orleans, Kenner, Lafayette, Morgan City, Mandeville, Houma, Cut Off, Brusly and New Iberia.

Koshetz said interest in the program across the country has been strong so far.

“We’ve been having thousands sign up,” she said.