Here's why Gerry Adams didn't want the "dreaded" SSSS code on his boarding pass 4 years ago

Here's why Gerry Adams didn't want the "dreaded" SSSS code on his boarding pass

You never want to see those letters on your boarding pass.

Gerry Adams tweeted an image of his boarding pass from a US airline on Thursday morning along with the caption: "Awwwhhhh! The dreaded SSSS. Aris."


So what exactly does he mean by the "dreaded SSSS" and why was it printed on his boarding pass?

SSSS stands for Secondary Security Screening Selection or Secondary Security Screening Selectee. When you're selected for this, you won't be able to print your boarding pass from home and will have to get it printed from a desk at the airport, where you will likely face a barrage of questions from staff.


The meaning of the four letters wasn't public knowledge until the last few years when Transportation Security Administration (TSA) handbook was leaked online.

Paying with cash for a ticket, flying to a high risk destinations and having your name on a 'no-fly' list are among a number of reasons you may have SSSS placed on your boarding pass.

But there's also random selection which means that even if you don't have any of the above criteria, you could end up with the code on your pass.

So if you’re on the US government’s No Fly List, a list which is said to include 1,877,133 people, or the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s Do Not Board List for people with a "communicable disease constituting a public health threat", the chances are, you'll have SSSS on your boarding pass.


It's not the first time that Gerry Adams has ended up with the letters on his boarding pass with the same thing happening last year.