What does SSSS mean on my boarding pass?

What Does SSSS Mean on My Boarding Pass?

With the advancement of travel apps, online check-in and the ability to load up your boarding pass without even stopping at the airline’s counter upon your arrival to the airport, domestic airline travel has the potential to be a breeze. Of course, there are still a variety of reasons you may need to go to the counter and check in the old fashioned way. Whether you’ve got bags to check, or potentially a seat upgrade, the ticket counter is not an uncommon stop for most travelers. Whether you checked in online or with an app or if you stepped up to a kiosk at the airport, your boarding pass contains all the pertinent information about your flight. Gate and seat number, departure and boarding times, as well as grouping assignments (when you’re allowed to board your flight) are all included here. Sometimes you’ll find information on there for a free seat upgrade too. These things are typical, but there are other codes and numbers on boarding passes that aren’t so common.  So what does SSSS mean on a boarding pass? We’re here to explain just that.

SSSS on boarding pass

Secondary Security Screening Selection can happen to anyone! Learn what SSSS means on your boarding pass and what to expect.

What Does SSSS Mean on My Boarding Pass?

SSSS on a boarding pass simply means “Secondary Security Screening Selection”. This means that a traveler has been pre-selected by TSA’s secure flight system for an enhanced security screening. Fliers are pre-selected using TSA’s system, and compares low risk and high risk travelers by comparing their travel history with watch lists and trusted traveler lists. While the criteria to qualifying for Secondary Security Screening Selection aren’t perfectly clear to the public, there seem to be a few reasons a traveler may be picked. Booking last minute flights, one way flights to international destinations, cash purchases and potentially even traveling to and from destinations that are considered “high-risk” might flag you for further security screenings.

Secondary Security Screening Selection – What to Expect?

Overall, the process doesn’t really add a significant delay to your travel time. If you’ve checked in online or with an airline’s travel app and you notice the “SSSS” on your digital boarding pass, you will be unable to print out or officially check in until you proceed to the ticket counter upon your arrival to the airport. Once at the ticketing counter, the clerk will most like ask you a few simple questions about your travel plans and take a good look at your ID. Once you’ve answered those questions, they’ll print out your boarding pass, explain that you’ve been selected for additional screening, check your luggage if need be, and send you on your way to security.

What does SSSS mean on my boarding pass?

Once you’ve checked in at the ticket counter, the airline agent will ask you a few detailed questions about your itinerary. Once they’re finished, they’ll print out your paper boarding pass and send you to security.

Once you reach the TSA checkpoint and after your boarding pass has been checked by an agent, you will most likely be taken to a designated security line where you may be required to go through the scanner, the metal detector, and sometimes thorough pat down. In all likelihood, your carry-on bags will probably be searched a bit more diligently and wiped for any dangerous residues, and you will probably need to power on all electronics. Be sure to have your electronics fully charged to help expedite this part of the search. Once you’ve received the all clear, the TSA agent performing the screening will stamp your boarding pass declaring you fit for travel, and they’ll send you on to your gate. When you reach your gate, your pass will be double checked to ensure you’ve gotten the correct signature and go ahead from TSA and security.

SSSS security screening

Your TSA security screening may be a bit more thorough than you’re used to, but shouldn’t add too much time to your security experience.

Overall, the process may slow you down another half hour or so, so just plan accordingly. While it’s not uncommon for travelers to be selected for this screening, it can become a bit of an inconvenience if you find yourself chosen frequently. In the event that you seem to be selected more often than not, there are few steps you can take to address that issue. Applying for a redress number will be the first step to rectify the problem of being selected too frequently. This process is specifically for travelers who find themselves selected for secondary screening too often. This can happen if you were, perhaps, accidentally added to a watch list. Applying for a redress number will help correct your file and lower your profile with the Department of Homeland Security.

As always, when traveling, making sure your travel documents and proof of identification are current and well in advance of your trip. With the emergence and regulation of Real ID across the U.S., having your passport or Real ID current well in advance of travel can help mitigate any delays and may potentially help you avoid additional screenings and questions when it comes time to fly. If you need assistance procuring any vital records in order to obtain proper travel documentation, VitalChek can help.

Leave A Comment