The 4-Letter Code You Never Want to See on Your Boarding Pass

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

There are plenty of reasons flying is stressful, but one of the biggest headaches of modern air travel is the security procedures. Who knows what fresh nightmares the TSA will have cooked up for you by the time you hit the terminal?

Well, there’s at least one hint you can use to determine whether or not you’ll be spending a little more time in the security area on your way to your gate, and it has nothing to do with that bottle of water you’re carrying. As both Refinery29 and Business Insider have reported, there's a four-letter code at the bottom of your boarding pass that can tell you whether you'll be pulled aside for extra screening.

If you see the letters “SSSS” at the bottom of your ticket, you’re in for a little extra attention at the security checkpoint. To compound the headache, you won’t be able to print your boarding pass at home, and will have to get it when you arrive at the airport.

If you’re predestined by the airport gods (also known as the TSA’s Secure Flight program) for Secondary Security Screening Selection, you’ll get an “enhanced screening,” which means you might get some extra questioning or be subjected to a pat-down, body scan, or luggage search.

While some passengers are chosen for extra screening at random, the TSA also flags people based on what they call “risk-based, intelligence-driven information." The so-called “selectee” list, a less strict version of the No-Fly list, is maintained by the FBI’s counterterrorism unit. Being on the list can be a huge pain: The ACLU reports [PDF] that people on the Selectee list “can be subjected to delays, humiliation, and improper questioning about the First Amendment-protected beliefs and associations—no matter how many times they have been through such screening and cleared security.”

As One Mile at a Time credit card blogger Ben "Lucky" Schlappig, who flies frequently and has been subjected to the process, explains it, it usually takes about 10 to 20 minutes of extra time in the security line to pass through the enhanced screening. Many people who receive extra screening believe it’s due to traveling to places that look suspicious to the government, as in the case of a travel blogger whose frequent flier points took him on a confusingly circuitous trip through Turkey. Even though he was already a member of TSA’s Global Entry background check program, he still seemed to have ended up on a watchlist. (That said, it's very difficult to figure out if you're on one of these lists and why, so it's hard to say for sure why you might get flagged regularly.)

But if you only receive the SSSS code once, you probably don’t have to worry about being on any sort of list. You may just have been selected at random. Lucky you.

[h/t Refinery29]

Hotel in Japan Is Offering Rooms for $1 Per Night—If You Agree to Livestream Your Stay

DragonImages/iStock via Getty Images
DragonImages/iStock via Getty Images

Many people are happy to document their vacations online without getting paid to do it. Now, as The Washington Post reports, exhibitionists who can't resist low prices are now eligible to book a hotel room in Fukuoka, Japan for just $1 a night. In return, they must agree to livestream their experience.

Tetsuya Inoue, the manager of Asahi Ryokan in Fukuoka, got the idea for the marketing stunt after one of his guests broadcast his stay voluntarily. Inoue figured that if people are already comfortable sharing their private moments in the hotel with the world, he might as well use that to his advantage.

The "One Dollar Hotel" promotion is a way for Inoue to bring attention to the 30-year-old guesthouse, which is owned by his grandmother. For $1—a fee that covers lodging, taxes, and tips—customers have access to a room that normally costs $27 a night. As guests eat, sleep, and get ready for the day, a camera installed in the room livestreams their every move to the hotel's YouTube channel. The only place where they have privacy is in the bathroom. Signs in the room warn guests not to engage in any "lewd acts" and to keep passports and credit cards out of the camera's field of view.

In addition to generating publicity for Asahi Ryokan, Inoue hopes that his YouTube videos will eventually become popular enough to monetize. Five guests have agreed to the deal so far, and after launching in October, the One Dollar Hotel YouTube channel already has close to 15,000 subscribers.

[h/t The Washington Post]

Planning a Trip? These Are the 10 U.S. Airlines Most Likely to Bump You

shironosov/iStock via Getty Images
shironosov/iStock via Getty Images

Booking your trip home for the holidays in advance is no guarantee you'll make it on the plane. Even after driving to the airport, making it through security, and getting to your gate on time, there's still a chance you'll be bumped from the flight you originally paid for. Overbooking is part of most airlines' business models, so there's no way to completely safeguard yourself against this inconvenient scenario. But in addition to paying extra for a higher-class ticket and checking in early as possible, you can reduce your risk of getting bumped by knowing which airlines are most likely to do it.

Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines are by far the most notorious when it comes to bumping passengers, Travel + Leisure reports. They were the stand-out airlines in a recent analysis by Upgraded Points that looked at which U.S. commercial aviation companies are most likely to involuntarily deny boarding to customers.

According to the report, Frontier bumped 6.28 people per every 100,000 passengers in 2018. In that same year, Spirit bumped 5.57 out of every 100,000 passengers. Those airlines were twice as likely as any other name on the list to stop people from boarding their flights. The closest behind them was Alaska Airlines with 2.3 bumps per every 100,000 customers.

The good news is that your overall chances of getting bumped from a flight are smaller than they were a few years ago. Upgraded Points found that the phenomena reached its peak in the second half of 2016, and rates had dropped significantly by the end of 2018.

If you'd still like to do everything in your power to make sure you make it onto your flight, check out the list below of the airlines that bump the most passengers before booking your holiday travel. And if you have been bumped in the past, here's how to collect the compensation you may be owed.

  1. Frontier Airlines
  1. Spirit Airlines
  1. Alaska Airlines
  1. PSA Airlines
  1. American Airlines
  1. Mesa Airlines
  1. Skywest Airlines
  1. Southwest Airlines
  1. Allegiant Air
  1. Republic Airlines

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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