What does "SSSS" on my boarding pass mean?

  • When I checked in for my American Airlines flight from Costa Rica back to the States, I noticed that my boarding pass had "SSSS" printed across the top left corner.

    Nobody else in my party had this on their boarding pass, and I didn't notice that I was treated differently at the airport (security, waiting at the gate, etc.), with one exception:

    During the boarding process, I was pulled aside, and after my bag was searched, the agent swabbed my hands with some kind of cloth that she then fed into a scanner. I seemed to be the only person in line who had to submit to this extra procedure.

    What does "SSSS" mean? Does it only apply at certain airports/jurisdictions?

    Did you ask the airline personnel at the gate?

    It means there are snakes on the plane! *(Note: NSFW language.)*

    It means you're in for some harassssment--secondary security screening.

    Check out the documentary "The end of America" by Naomi Wolf.. that will answer all your questions....

  • Prashanth

    Prashanth Correct answer

    9 years ago

    An acronym for 'Secondary Security Screening Selection' or 'Secondary Security Screening Selectee' which is an airport security measure in the United States and Canada which selects passengers for additional inspection

    Though there is no published criteria how passengers are selected for SSSS, Wiki page lists few probable ones.

    ...because giving people *advanced warning* about whether they will be subject to a more comprehensive search or not is the way to increase security... It boggles the mind.

    The advanced warning is a good thing. It allows you to schedule an hour extra for the swaps for explosives or other goods. (estimating here. It took 5+ minutes each time followed by a wait, a repeat, another wait and another repeat. Not sure why they do it three times in the same place.)

    @Hennes If the point is to catch/stop wrongdoers, then advanced warning is self-defeating. If someone nefarious gets sees SSSS on their ticket, they'd scrub their attempt, take the flight normally, and try again later. It's only a good thing if we admit that the point isn't to make flying safer.

    Aye. But they do print it on the pass. So you do know it in advance and the make flying safer part is completely negated.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM