Is it time to loosen the draconian 9/11 security measures at airports, which are wearing on travellers, and allow friends and relatives into the terminal, for those long goodbyes or emotional welcomes? At least one airport thinks so …
Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) is now one of three US airports that allow non-ticketed guests past security, joining Pittsburgh and Tampa.
According to the Detroit Free Press, the airport began piloting the DTW Destination Pass Program on Tuesday, allowing a limited number of people without tickets pass through security for the first time since post-9/11, Patrick Clarke of Travel Pulse reported.
The temporary program includes both the North and McNamara terminals and will be open to 75 visitors per day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
Guests who wish to participate must register on the airport’s website the day before their planned visit. If approved, they’ll be expected to follow the same security procedures as ticketed passengers, the report said.
“The new regulations allow us to expand our gate pass program that already exists for our Westin hotel guests,” said Wayne County Airport Authority CEO Chad Newton in a statement.
“Now we can welcome more community members into our home to create memorable moments—from watching planes to greeting family and friends.”
“Now those who are not flying can enjoy the many amenities of the airport, surprise an arriving traveler or spend extra time with a loved one who is departing,” the Wayne County Airport Authority stated.
“Last year, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) amended its regulations, giving airports more flexibility when allowing non-ticketed visitors into the gate area.”
The DTW Destination Pass Program will be piloted through the busy holiday travel season with an end date scheduled for January 5, 2020. Afterward, airport officials will review survey results and other data to evaluate the program.
The programs at Pittsburgh International Airport and Tampa International Airport are permanent.
Officials at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport tested a similar gate-pass program during the 2018 holiday season and are currently still reviewing the decision of whether to bring it back temporarily or permanently, according to USA Today.