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Why you never want to see SSSS on your boarding pass

Next time you head to the airport, you might want to check your boarding pass after you check in.

And if you see SSSS on it, you could even end up being late for your flight.

The code stands for “Secondary Security Screening Selection” which means that the passenger has been selected for additional screening by security.

Anyone with this code is advised to turn up an extra half hour early for the airport, because getting through security will take considerably longer than usual.

Officials will take a particular interest in you and your luggage; giving you a pat down, swabbing for explosive residue and opening up all of your bags.

They may also require extra information to prove identity and a detailed run-down of all travel plans.

If you see SSSS on your boarding pass, it isn’t good news.

But a TSA source has since claimed that there are other ways to get SSSS branded, including paying for a plane ticket by cash or regularly buying one-way tickets.

It’s not easy to get off the SSSS list, but anyone who wants to can appeal to the Department Of Security’s Traveler Redress Inquiry Program.

There are other codes on your boarding pass too, for instance, the two letters at the start of the flight number denote the airline.

These two-letter codes are issued by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the trade association for international airlines.

Give yourself more time at the airport if you have the SSSS code.

It also matters whether your flight has an odd or even number. There are exceptions, but flights heading east or north are often given even numbers and those heading west or south are assigned odd numbers.

And if you see GTE on your boarding pass, it might mean you don’t have a seat on a plane.

Thankfully, this usually only applies if you are flying to the US, although some passengers have said they had the code on their passes when travelling to countries such as Turkey.

The scheme was introduced by the Transport Security Administration after the 9/11 terror attacks, as an extra security measure for passengers travelling in or out of the US.

This article originally appeared on The Sun and has been republished with permission. 

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