Home

Here’s What You Should Know If You Get Flagged By TSA

By Parker Diakite

Share

If you ever find yourself in a situation at the security checkpoint where you’re pulled aside by a TSA Agent for extra screening, don’t panic. 

This could simply mean that you have been flagged in advance for what the TSA calls “Secondary Security Screening Selection,” also known as SSSS on your boarding ticket.

If this happens to you, experts from Fodor’s Travel have outlined what passengers should do in case you’re flagged:

Why were you flagged?

When you purchase a plane ticket, the airlines ask you to submit your name, gender, date of birth. It’s a way for TSA to cross-check the information they have with several databases, including the No Fly List, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Do Not Board” list and the TSA’s own Selectee List

The TSA’s Selectee List changes constantly for the following reasons:

  • Booking a one-way ticket
  • Paying for a ticket with cash
  • Making flight reservations on short notice
  • Recent travel to certain countries
  • Holding a passport from a country that the U.S. does not have a good relationship with.

There are signs that will indicate you have been flagged for additional screenings:


  • You were not able to print a boarding pass from an airline ticketing kiosk or from the internet.
  • You were denied or delayed boarding.
  • A ticket agent “called someone” before handing you a boarding pass.

What to do?

Having an SSSS on your boarding pass once or twice is not a big deal, according to Fodor’s. Travelers should expect to go through a body scanner and a metal detector, receive an enhanced pat-down, have your hands and belongings swabbed, and get your bags manually searched.

If you find that you’re constantly being sent to secondary screening, here are a few steps you can take.

Use your full name when booking a plane ticket

This includes your middle name to reduce the chances that you’ll get flagged because someone with a similar name is on some kind of watch list.

Sign up for a Trusted Traveler Program

Programs like Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck involve an extensive background check, so they may help you avoid getting flagged at security.

Request a “Redress Number” from the Department of Homeland Security

DHS has a centralized complaint center called the Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (TRIP) here you can submit your information if you’re repeatedly getting flagged for additional scrutiny at TSA checkpoints, passport control, or customs.

Once you file a complaint and provide copies of your identity documents, DHS will do some investigating to see if you’re being flagged because your name is similar to someone on a watch list. If they determine that’s the case, they’ll issue you a “redress number” that you can include when making flight reservations. C

Share
Travel Noire

Parker Diakite

Want more?

Get exclusive, unpublished tips from Travel Noire's CEO to help you get off the beaten path, into the hearts of locals and onto a better, more cultured life.

Women-Only Wellness Trips Are The New Wave In Travel

Women-Only Wellness Trips Are The New Wave In Travel

For many women, they are the juggling families, excelling in their careers and starting businesses all while keeping it cute. With so much going on, sometimes it’s necessary to take some time to reset and recharge. That’s one of the main reason, according to the experts, that women-only wellness retreats are becoming one of the […]

DeAnna Taylor

Booking Flights Through WhatsApp Might Be A Thing Soon

Booking Flights Through WhatsApp Might Be A Thing Soon

Passengers may soon be able to use the popular messaging app WhatsApp to book flights.  Dutch Airline KLM has been using WhatsApp since 2017 to communicate with its passengers. Other airline companies, including Malaysia Airlines and Etihad, have also introduced features to sends notifications such as flight confirmation and itineraries. According to travel experts with […]

Parker Diakite

Travel Bloggers Placed In Iranian Prison For ‘Flying Illegal Drone’

Travel Bloggers Placed In Iranian Prison For ‘Flying Illegal Drone’

An Australian couple, identified as Jolie King and Mark Firkin, is being held in Iran’s Evin prison. They are widely known for their travel adventure to drive from Australia to London and have been posting videos since 2017 in their white Toyota Land Cruiser, documenting their experiences. At the end of June, their posts suddenly […]

Parker Diakite