Whether or not you’re getting on a plane, you may soon be able to get in a TSA line—just to eat the pulled pork mac ‘n’ cheese at Iron Chef Michael Symon’s namesake restaurant in Pittsburgh International Airport
Thanks to a new programme starting in September, non-fliers will be allowed to roam beyond security at PIT as part of a test the airport
developed with the Transportation Security Administration’s sign-off. Visitors who check in at a dedicated counter on the airport’s third-floor ticketing level and show a driver’s licence or passport
can receive a complimentary “myPITpass.” Anyone on the no-fly list will not be allowed, and everyone will still have to go through TSA’s standard security procedures—just like travellers with a regular boarding pass.
For the first time since September 11, 2001, parents of unaccompanied minors and the children of travelling
elderly at the Pennsylvania hub will be able to see them to the gate and keep them company until boarding.
“This is one of the top five requests I get any time I give a speech,” said Christina Cassotis, chief executive of the Allegheny County Airport
Authority, which oversees PIT. “This is a unique community in that you have a lot of meeters and greeters, people who drop off and pick up loved ones,” she told Bloomberg.
For Cassotis, the move signals “a return to the good old days” before 9/11, when anyone could show up with flowers to pick someone up from the gate. But a lot has changed since the good old days. For one thing, security requires far more thorough screenings. And whereas PIT was built as a major hub for US Airways, it now operates as an “origin and destination airport,” where people begin and end their journeys but rarely transit through on connections.