SSSS: The four letters you don’t want on your boarding pass

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SSSS: The four letters you don’t want on your boarding pass

By
23 November 2017

By | 23 November 2017

With the rising airport security demands, some passengers are simply more unlucky than others

Havi four-letter code on your boarding pass means you will be treated in a special way — Shutterstock security airport SSSS Group Created with Sketch. Having the four-letter code on your boarding pass means you will be treated in a special way — Shutterstock

 

We all know that tight airport security is a necessary evil in the 21st century. And sure, it’s a pain, but it’s the same for everyone; you just have to grin and bear it, right?

Wrong. It could be even worse.

If you’re flying either into the US, or on an internal flight and you notice the code SSSS on your boarding pass, you’re in for more than you bargained for.

SSSS – or Secondary Security Screening Selection – means you’ve been chosen for an extra security screening, which could involve pat-downs, a total bag search, full body scans and even an interview concerning your travel plans.

The TSA says: “Secure Flight is a risk-based passenger pre-screening program that enhances security by identifying low and high-risk passengers before they arrive at the airport by matching their names against trusted traveller lists and watchlists.”

They have also confirmed that if travellers appear on an FBI counter-terrorism watchlist, they’ll be given the code, but otherwise it’s a random selection.

It would appear, however, that you’re more likely to be selected and given the code if you book your flights at the last minute, are only travelling one-way, or are travelling from one of what the US deems a “high-risk” country.