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These 2 airports will let you through security without a boarding pass
Photo by Aaron Betts on Unsplash

As most travelers know, airports in the U.S. have prohibited people from going through security without a boarding pass since shortly after 9/11. The days of seeing your loved ones off or waiting for them at the gate are gone—but not entirely. Did you know that both Tampa International Airport (TPA) and Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) now allow non-ticketed people through security in conditional settings? Here’s the deal:

Tampa International Airport (TPA)
The TPA All Access initiative, which was introduced on May 4, allows up to 100 non-ticketed guests past security every Saturday between 8am and 8pm. To take advantage, you must register here at least 24 hours in advance and select one of the four available concourses (“Airsides”) to visit (25 people max are allowed access to each per Saturday). Then, you bring your ID to the Information Kiosk on Level 3 of the Main Terminal on the day of your visit to pick up your TPA All Access Pass and head to the security line.

Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT)
The myPITpass initiative opened post-security restaurants and shops at PIT back in 2017. Passes are available from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday. No advance registration is required. All you need to do is bring your ID to the myPITpass Ticket Counter on the third floor in the Landside Terminal (across from Allegiant) to pick up your pass and head for security.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) experimented with a similar program last winter. As The Points Guy writes, “In November 2018, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport launched a temporary Visitor Pass program to allow non-ticketed visitors into the secure side of the airport. The pilot program ran through Dec. 14, 2018. During that time, 1,165 visitors enrolled via the online site. The Port of Seattle which operates the airport, has said it would study the feasibility of continuing SEA Visitor Pass program at Sea-Tac.” The TPG story also notes that other U.S. airports are exploring similar steps, so stay tuned.

And to be clear, if you’d simply like to clear security to accompany a minor or an elderly or disabled person to the gate, you can usually arrange for that via an escort pass. To obtain an escort pass, contact your airline in advance and know what you’ll need before you head to the airport. Southwest’s FAQ section, for example, says this: “At the ticket counter, please provide a valid form of identification and a copy of your child’s itinerary and request an ‘escort pass’ that will allow you to pass through security.”

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