Wondering about the definition of SSSS? Keep reading to learn the meaning of SSSS, see some examples, and get a better understanding of this travel glossary term!
What Does SSSS Mean?
SSSS is the acronym for Secondary Security Screening Selection, a program used in the United States by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) which selects certain airport passengers, usually those boarding international flights, for a second, more thorough security screening than the main one that all passengers undergo.
Some refer to an SSSS passenger as a suspicious passenger.
SSSS can also stand for the Secondary Security Screening Selectee, which is the actual passenger chosen to be subjected to this process. The TSA guards the list of SSSS names, and they have their own computer-generated algorithm, as well as manual cues, for determining who will be an SSSS.
More on Secondary Security Screening Selections
Common flags that might be raised to warrant placement on the SSSS list include:
- destination country,
- origin country,
- layover country,
- country of passport,
- one-way tickets instead of a round trip ticket,
- last-minute flight bookings,
- cash used as the payment method,
- computer-generated random selection (not a security flag),
- race and ethnicity, unfortunately, may also sometimes play a role.
If a passenger becomes a secondary security screening selectee, they will most likely have “SSSS” in all capitals printed on their boarding pass. Some airlines may have a different signal, such as Southwest’s checkerboard pattern, to be less conspicuous to passengers. If passengers are selected in advance, online check-in as well as self check-in become unavailable to them, as well.
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