Check your boarding pass the next time you fly and you might just find a clue showing you're getting searched extra by security.

Secret Boarding Pass Code You Need To Know

According to Reader's Digest, the Transportation Security Administration likes to add a special code to boarding passes to alert agents that extra security measures may be needed with specific passengers.

Travelers who have "SSSS" on their boarding pass should prepare themselves to be slightly delayed by security before boarding their flights.

Reader's Digest says the code stands for "secondary security screening selection" which signals additional screening measures may be required. These additional steps may include "luggage inspections, pat-down screenings or swabs for explosives."

Tips For Possibly Avoiding The Dreaded SSSS Code

It should not be a surprise to anyone that TSA is fairly tight-lipped when it comes to what triggers the SSSS code to be added to a traveler's boarding pass. There is no tried and true way to avoid it.

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Travel website ThePointsGuy.com reached out to its staff members and readers to gauge their experience with the additional security measures and why they believe the SSSS code was added to their boarding pass. The website outlined four main findings as possible triggers from its survey:

  • "Suspicious" activities may have included booking one-way tickets or purchasing tickets with cash
  • Traveling to a potentially flagged destination. Turkey was destination often called out by the website's readers.
  • TSA agents who spot what they believe to be suspicious behavior
  • Just random selection

While you can't avoid being randomly selected for additional security screening, you can at least maybe try not to do anything that could be suspicious.

At least you'll know it's coming the next time you see SSSS printed on your boarding pass.

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