Person holding boarding passes

What To Expect If You See 'SSSS' On Your Boarding Pass

By Hilary I. Lebow


At the airport, you may see an "SSSS" designation on your boarding pass. This stands for "Secondary Security Screening Selection" and means you’ll be subject to extra security.
The code can appear for anyone, as airport security does not discriminate between coach and first-class passengers, nor care about programs like Global Entry and TSA Precheck.
Common reasons for the designation are buying a last-minute ticket, booking a direct flight one-way, paying in cash, going to a flagged area, or acting suspiciously at the airport.
If you get the SSSS designation, plan for an extra 15 to 45 minutes in security. You may be checked with a wand scanner, get a full-body pat down, or get swabbed.
Your luggage will be subject to thorough checks, and you may have to power on your electronics and hand them off to TSA. You may also be asked extra questions about your trip.
For your comfort, you can ask that the extra measures take place in private. From there, a TSA agent will fill out some paperwork and stamp your pass, giving you the all-clear.