What is ‘SSSS’?

I just returned from a quick trip Asia and wanted to let you know what happened on my final segment. I tried to check in at a Japan Airlines’ kiosk at Tokyo Narita’s Terminal 2, but kept getting an error. I went to Q Counters, which was for economy passengers.

I just returned from a quick trip Asia and wanted to let you know what happened on my final segment. I tried to check in at a Japan Airlines’ kiosk at Tokyo Narita’s Terminal 2, but kept getting an error. I went to Q Counters, which was for economy passengers.

The agent could not find my itinerary because the system showed me as being double booked, more on that in another post.  The agent was able to sort out my reservation and print the boarding pass. The boarding pass was covered with SSSS.

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‘SSSS’ is Secondary Security Screening Selection. I have read many travel bloggers and their issues with this. My frequent traveling could have done it or the fact that have been to Panama, El Salavador, Thailand, and Japan in the span of a few months.

I had dreaded getting the SSSS. I thought there would be a long delay but made it  through security and customs within minutes. There was no mention of the SSSS. This was a breeze, maybe the other guys were exaggerating? 

There was about an hour to waste so i grabbed some snacks and got on Narita’s free wifi. Boarding was called and I was one of the last ones to board due to my seat being at the back of the aircraft. As my boarding pass was scanned, it flagged me for the secondary security screening. Damn. I was taken to a room just on the side of gate 72, my departure gate.

The agent asked if I would allow him to perform a pat down. At this point, what were my options? Of course I allowed him.  The pat down took a few seconds and then my bag was swabbed for explosive residue. Of course I knew there was not any, I was still a bit nervous. The machine beeped and the agent sent me on my way. The entire process took three minutes at most.

Japan Airlines 787-900
Japan Airlines 787-900

While I am sure the length of time the secondary screening will vary at airports around the world, I was happy that it only took a few minutes in Japan. This situation will lead me to applying for a redress number so it does not happen again.

Redress number: a number for people who constantly targeted for additional screening to be given an explanation. 

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