The Pittsburgh airport will be the first to let non-ticketed people past security checkpoints since 9/11, and it has the Transportation Security Administration’s permission.
Starting Tuesday, people escorting travelers at the Pittsburgh International Airport will be able to get a special pass called myPITpass to go through airport security to the terminals, NBC News reports.
The program will only be available on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to avoid the busiest travel times. Anyone seeking the pass will have to show a valid photo ID at a special check-in desk and be vetted against no fly lists.
“But if security lines were to become long, people seeking a ‘myPITpass’ will have to wait until the line dies down,” airport spokesman Bob Kerlik said.
The Pittsburgh airport is testing the program because it’s in a unique situation. It’s no longer a hub for any major airline, and the airport has capacity to handle quite a few more passengers than it gets on a regular basis, according the PIT CEO.
“We are a de-hubbed Midwest airport, built for 32 million passengers, that has 8 million today and that has lots of time in the middle of the day where wait times average five to 10 minutes,” Christina Cassotis, CEO of the Allegheny County Airport Authority CEO said.
The airport hopes that allowing guests to accompany travelers to the gates, as most people did during the 1990s, will boost revenue at the shops beyond the TSA checkpoints.
Flight attendants have criticized the plan for decreasing airline security and for the likelihood of clogged travel lines.
“Allowing the non-flying public to go through security at the Pittsburgh International Airport for the sole purpose of shopping is a terrible precedent and an ill-conceived decision,” Bob Ross, president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, said in a statement.
“Beyond security concerns, having shoppers clog already frustratingly long TSA security lines will lead to flight delays and more passengers missing flights, especially during the busy holiday season,” he said.
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