Well if you haven’t seen this on your boarding pass then consider yourself lucky!
I have gotten it every time I have been to Puerto Vallarta, even when I was in a wheel chair due to an unlucky fall. Connor (our teenage son) gets it in the Bahamas. We told him the SSSS stood for strip search security session. Then watched him study everyone with a worried look on his face. In our next lifetime we will be better parents!
My whole thought on this is, I do not at all mind doing the extra security as long as they are checking lots of other people too. Just in case you are wondering we all have Global Entry and we still get the SSSS. – Wendi Montoya
The excerpt below is from AFAR.
First class or coach, travelers can earn this inconvenient designation on any flight, international or domestic.
Ah, the dreaded SSSS.
The four letters mean you’re about to spend a whole lot more time than you’d hoped at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint.
According to TSA spokesman Michael McCarthy, SSSS appears on a passenger’s boarding pass when he or she has been selected by the agency’s Secure Flight system for enhanced security screening. Secure Flight is a risk-based passenger prescreening program that improves security by identifying low- and high-risk passengers before they arrive at the airport. The program does this by matching passengers’ names against trusted traveler lists and watchlists.
“TSA always incorporates random and unpredictable measures into its procedures that may result in a passenger receiving an SSSS designation for a single flight,” McCarthy wrote in an email.
To protect privacy, the Secure Flight program collects the minimum amount of personal information—full name, date of birth, and gender—necessary to conduct effective matching. It also prevents individuals on the Terrorist Watchlist, the No-Fly List, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “Do Not Board” list from boarding any aircraft. That said, the SSSS designation can attach itself to any traveler at any time, even those who are members of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency’s Trusted Traveler Programs, including Global Entry.
The system picks its SSSS winners in an instant, but those four letters will mean an extended stay with TSA agents, so prepare yourself for a more comprehensive screening process. And whatever you do, don’t Sing Slayer Songs Softly while you wait.
Thank you to Matt Villano and Afar for this information!
According to Wikipedia: Secondary Security Screening Selection or Secondary Security Screening Selectee, known by its initials SSSS, is an airport security measure in the United States which selects passengers for additional inspection.