Why you never want to see ‘SSSS’ on your boarding pass

There is really only one thing worse than going through airport security ... and that's going through more airport security!

If you're one of the unlucky passengers who see's four S's on their boarding pass, it means you have been selected to undergo an extensive security screening process. The four S's stands for "Secondary Security Screening Selection" and includes bag searches, pat downs and validation of identity all conducted by the TSA.

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10 countries not to travel alone
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10 countries not to travel alone
10. Lebanon

About: Lebanon is located at the crossroads of Asia and Europe, and has been thrust into the center of political and religious upheavals throughout history.

Criticism: The country has juggled periods of political stability and economic prosperity with violent sectarianism and a deadly civil war. An influx of refugees has put a stress on the economy, and the Syrian civil war has triggered increasing sectarian violence in Lebanon in recent years. The nation ranks among the lowest countries in the 2017 Best Countries Rankings for quality of life and citizenship.

Best Countries Overall Rank: 76

9. Azerbaijan

About: Azerbaijan is a presidential republic, but its government's reputation has been marred by claims of corruption and a criticized human-rights record.

Criticism: Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Reporters Without Borders have condemned the nation's treatment of its critics and journalists. Azerbaijan is regarded as a center for craft art, but still it ranks among the lowest countries in the 2017 Best Countries Rankings for cultural influence and heritage.

Best Countries Overall Rank: 69

8. Nigeria

About: The Federal Republic of Nigeria split from the United Kingdom to claim its independence in 1960, but was plagued by years of violent civil war and military rule.

Criticism: A majority of the country's citizens live in poverty, and one-third of Nigerian children have never enrolled in school. Nigeria also has the highest rate of HIV/AIDS-related deaths in the world. Security is a concern in the country, as Islamic extremist group Boko Haram has built up its presence in the region. Christians have fled the country to avoid the severe enforcement of Islamic law.

Best Countries Overall Rank: 77

7. Algeria

About: Algeria waged an eight-year war for independence from France before becoming an independent country in 1962, and then faced years of civil war between its military and Islamist militants in the 1990s. The majority of the country is covered by desert.

Criticism: Algeria's economic challenges are exacerbated by corruption. As for civil liberties, Human Rights Watch claims the government restricts free speech and the right to assemble and peacefully protest.

Best Countries Overall Rank: 78

6. Angola

About: The Republic of Angola experienced a decades-long civil war between competing independence movements, but while peace was reached in 2002, the nation and its people and economy are still recovering.

Criticism: Angola is rich in diamonds, but much of the country lives in poverty. Nearly a third of all citizens are illiterate, and a flood of displaced citizens returning to the now peaceful country have put a strain on the economy. The nation lands among some of lowest ranking countries in the in the 2017 Best Countries Rankings for adventure, cultural influence, entrepreneurship and heritage.

Best Countries Overall Rank: 75

5. Oman

About: Oman is the oldest independent state in the Arab world, and profited from the slave trade in the 1800s. The Sultan of Oman at one time enforced a police and internet crackdown, but the government eventually allowed for more civic participation. Oman held its first municipal council elections in 2012.

Criticism: The country has avoided some of the militant Islamist violence that has targeted its neighboring states, but is still strained by a government deficit. Rights groups have called Oman repressive and criticize its censorship.

Best Countries Overall Rank: 66

4. Kazakhstan

About: Kazakhstan is a land rich with natural resources, but challenged by a weak national identity. A nation largely influenced by Russian culture, Kazakhstan is struggling to revive traditions.

Criticism: The country falls among some of the lowest ranking countries in the 2017 Best Countries Rankings for heritage, entrepreneurship, cultural influence and adventure. Rights groups claim the country has cracked down on dissent and have accused officials of restricting freedoms.

Best Countries Overall Rank: 71

3. Saudi Arabia

About: Saudi Arabia struggles to find a balance between security, control and the pressure to increase democracy. The imbalance has led Saudi authorities to battle protesters and extremist groups.

Criticism: The country's citizens are granted very limited freedom of expression, and international rights groups have criticized the government's use of torture on detainees and public executions.

Best Countries Overall Rank: 32

2. Pakistan

About: Pakistan is a country plagued by social unrest, political instability and corruption.

Criticism: Security concerns are on-going in the country. Pakistan ranks in the bottom 10 countries in the 2017 Best Countries Rankings for adventure, citizenship, cultural influence and quality of life. It's also among the destinations included on the U.S. Department of State's most recent advisories against travel.

Best Countries Overall Rank: 74

1. Iran

About: Iran is home to one of the largest populations in the Middle East, with 80.8 million people. Despite experiencing some secular reforms and a glimpse of democracy in the mid-20th century, Iran is governed today by an authoritarian regime.

Criticism: Iran ranks last among the 2017 Best Countries Rankings for adventure, citizenship and quality of life. The U.S. Department of State also issued a travel warning for the country in August 2016.

Best Countries Overall Rank: 79

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The TSA claims the code is assigned at random but some travelers claim they are selected a majority of the time they travel.

Booking a one-way ticket or paying in cash could result in an additional screening and if you decide not to participate in the extra screening, you cannot board your flight.

The additional screening came about after the September 11 attacks in an attempt to help security officials better monitor potentially dangerous individuals.

So the next time you see the dreaded SSSS on your boarding pass, you can expect to be delayed, even if your flight isn't.

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