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Destination Pass allows Detroit Metro Airport visitors to go through security without a plane ticket

How the Destination Pass at Detroit Metro Airport works
How the Destination Pass at Detroit Metro Airport works 02:17

ROMULUS, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) – We're just a week away from kicking off Memorial Day weekend, marking the start of the summer travel season for the Transportation Security Administration, and they are preparing for a record number of passengers.

Some travelers may be in for a surprise from their loved ones at Detroit Metro Airport, where people without boarding passes can now go through TSA checkpoints.

Andres Gutierrez/CBS Detroit

If you're picking someone up at DTW, you'd usually meet them at baggage claim or the curb, but that wasn't the case before 9/11 when almost anyone could walk up to the gate and see the planes up close. Keith McCree remembers those days. 

"They'd print out the boarding pass just to get you to the gate, the family boarding pass, and allow them to sit with you while you wait. And if the plane was delayed, they'd be there. And if the plane got canceled, they could actually take you back home. So that was an advantage," McCree said. 

In 2019, the Wayne County Airport Authority found a way to restore some of that lost convenience and comfort.

"And what people had to do is submit their name, date of birth, and a lot of personal information 24 hours before their visit," Randy Wimbley, spokesperson for the Wayne County Airport Authority, said. 

But the COVID-19 pandemic paused the program and then came the Destination Pass kiosks.

All visitors have to do is scan their driver's license or passport, and they receive a pass instantly, allowing them to go through the TSA checkpoint. 

"I think it's very sufficient; I think it's very convenient, and I don't see anything wrong with it. I like it," Sierra Brown, a traveler, said. 

Those under 18 must be with an adult. 

"It really allows people to experience all that DTW has to offer again: more than 100 shops and restaurants, and local breweries like Atwater and Jolly Pumpkin. We've got Chick-fil-A and all of your franchises that everyone is familiar with. We have more concessions coming in with our concessionaires program," Wimbley said. 

The passes are gaining popularity; since October 2023, the kiosks have printed about 27,000. 

"More people are using the program with the kiosks, and they're not having any issues, you know, with parking or what have you. And so that's not at all a deterrent," Wimbley said. 

The Destination Pass kiosks at the Evans and McNamara terminals and the Westin Hotel next to McNamara are up and running seven days a week from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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