The DHS Has Reviewed My “SSSS” Case…

As I first wrote about a bit over a month ago, I seem to be on some sort of a U.S. government watchlist. I belong to the TSA Trusted Traveler program, and am typically eligible for Global Entry and TSA Pre-Check.

However, for all of January and much of February, I had an “SSSS” on all my boarding passes when I’d fly, signaling that I was being subjected to additional screening. While in the past I’ve gotten secondary screening occasionally, I’ve never had it on back to back trips, let alone on about a dozen flights in a row. See this post for details on what this additional screening entails.

SSSS

Fortunately there’s an appeals process. It’s not all that transparent (understandably), but at least there’s a process you can go through to try and clear your name. It’s called the DHS TRIP program, which stands for Traveler Redress Inquiry Program. In theory this should allow you to get a Redress number, which you can add to your reservation so that you’re not constantly subjected to additional screening.

So I submitted an inquiry, which was a pretty straightforward process. However, I wasn’t expecting fast results, given that it’s the government we’re talking about here.

While the DHS quickly acknowledged my inquiry, they stated that it could take 50 days for the application to be processed.

Well, I just checked in for a domestic flight tomorrow where I have my Known Traveler Number on the reservation, and much to my surprise, I didn’t get an “SSSS.” I hadn’t heard anything from the DHS, so that prompted me to check the status of my DHS TRIP Case. Upon entering my inquiry number, I saw the following message:

Closed
DHS has completed its review of your submission. A letter was forwarded to you at the address provided in your application.

DHS-TRIP

Now, mail is a bit of a tricky situation for me, so I haven’t yet received a letter. However, based on the fact that I’ve now had two international flights and one domestic flight without “SSSS,” I’d say it worked.

Color me very impressed. I applied for a Redress number under a month ago, and have already been cleared — AWESOME!

I’ve been dreading showing up at the airport lately due to knowing I’d be subjected to 10-20 minutes of additional searches, so I’m thrilled that’s not the case anymore. I have a new appreciation for the wonders of Pre-Check.

TSA-2

So if you ever find yourself in a similar situation to me, with back-to-back-to-back “SSSS” flights, the good news is that there’s a way to have it undone, and it’s pretty straightforward and quick.

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Comments

  1. I’ve had the dreaded tag on my boarding pass once in the last 15 years or so. What a pain in the aSSSS! Glad you got that cleared up.

  2. Who knows? It might have gone away by itself in that time. I flew EBL-MSY in December, and flying on a one-way ticket from Iraq pretty much guarantees an SSSS, which appeared at my connection at DOH and again at PHL. It was still there when I flew to CUN later in the month, then reappeared when I flew to BOS in January. Since then, it’s been gone for my next three flights, and I think it’s gone for good.

  3. Glad to hear it. I started getting SSSS after flying to Costa Rica of all places, even though I have PreCheck like yourself. Followed me from airline to airline, so it wasn’t a one-off. 🙁 I’ve just begun the redress process too, so we’ll see how it goes.

  4. Wait. I thought you used to enjoy your free TSA mini-massages? 🙂 glad everything worked out.

  5. @ dmodemd — I haven’t gotten a Redress number yet. Apparently they sent me a letter, but I haven’t received it yet. So it may be in there.

  6. Had an unusual routing through a Muslim country the other day (Sweden), got SSSS. Was much nicer in Arlanda than when it happened back home.

    Not sure if it was ‘problematic country’ or the 2 stopover routing that caused it. Flew business class.

  7. I’ve had the dreaded SSSS on every flight back into the US for at least 3-4 years now. Never once had it on a domestic flight or going out of the US or any other flight. After I saw your original post I too have applied for a redress, hopefully I’ll soon be cleared also. Glad to hear the system works.

  8. I think actually adding your redress number to your itinerary probably won’t matter in your case. The redress number is generally used to avoid misidentification when you have a very similar name to someone on their watch list. In your case, I think you actually were on their watch list due to your travel patterns, but have been removed as a result of the redress process.

  9. @William: Sweden is not a “Muslim country”. In fact, Sweden had an official state church, the lutheran-affiliated Church of Sweden (until it was officially disestablished in 2000). That said, a majority of Swedes don’t really practice religion and only about 18% say they believe in god.

    Sweden has a minority Muslim population (about 4-5%), a mix of people with Balkan, Turkish, and Arab ancestry. But, like “christian” Swedes, the majority of them don’t actively practice religion either.

    Sweden is not a hotbed of terrorism or a “problematic” country, but the fact you think it is says a lot about you.

  10. @Ko, it was either xenophobia wrapped in sarcasm, or it was xenophobia wrapped in ignorance from reading too much Breitbart fear-mongering.

  11. Wondering what Lucky did to piss off TSA. I’m betting big that this was retribution from some low level civil servant who didn’t like your attitude or maybe something you wrote in the blog. Any guesses? Or perhaps you’d rather not risk stirring up the pot again.

    PS Yes it’s disgusting that our government operates this way.

  12. @Reed I think it was a joking reference to Trump’s xenophobia and the fact that he basically made up terrorist attacks in Sweden.

  13. Well … Lucky you … it took me almost a year to get my redress nr … but I am not a US-national so that might explain?
    Well done

  14. “It shows What you think about Sweden”

    “Breitbart fear mongering”

    Yeah tell that the Jewish communities in Sweden, especially malmo lol…. or to the women that have been raped.. or to free speech advocates that are banned from saying anything for fear of prosecution for being racist.

    I love hearing liberal views on accepting immigrants who oh by the way believe in FAR more right wing views than Breitbart… views like: homosexuals should be stoned.. women must be covered.

  15. @ Reed
    I was in Gothenburg and Stockholm last summer and you are plainly ignorant of what is going on there. Suggest you research the travel warnings regarding the behaviour of many of the immigrants to gain a little insight of how disruptive of local culture they have become.

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