Skip to comments.Would you pay $100 to skip the TSA screening line?
Posted on 03/17/2012 10:03:39 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
An idea long overdue in my opinion. The Wall Street Journal reports that a pilot program is already in place for two airlines at nine airports where you can skip the TSA nudie scans and gropings, zipping through the airport almost as fast as you did before 9/11. You can leave on your shoes, your belt, your coat and your hat. All you’ll have to do is go through a “pre-screening” background check process and sit down for an interview with an official. Oh, and there’s one other catch… it will cost you $100.
The Transportation Security Administration is rolling out expedited screening at big airports called “Precheck.” It has special lanes for background-checked travelers, who can keep their shoes, belt and jacket on, leave laptops and liquids in carry-on bags and walk through a metal detector rather than a full-body scan. The process, now at two airlines and nine airports, is much like how screenings worked before the Sept. 11 attacks.
To qualify, frequent fliers must meet undisclosed TSA criteria and get invited in by the airlines. There is also a backdoor in. Approved travelers who are in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s “Global Entry” program can transfer into Precheck using their Global Entry number.
TSA says it also wants as many people as possible in Precheck, which is still in pilot-testing phase. Both agencies say the programs can enhance screening of people they know nothing about if they can move low-risk people who submit to background checks out of the main queues.
“We can reduce the size of the haystack when we are looking for that one-in-a-billion terrorist,” said TSA Administrator John Pistole.
When I went to renew my passport last year prior to a trip to Canada, I picked up a lot of useful information on this subject. But it also highlighted some opportunities which the government seemed to be overlooking. For example, you still don’t have to have a passport if you are driving into Canada, as opposed to flying. In Michigan, New York, Vermont and Washington state, you can apply for an enhanced drivers license. This functions just like a regular license in terms of operating your vehicle and serving as valid ID for all your needs. But it also proves that you’ve had an extensive background check to determine that you’re unlikely to be plotting anything nasty. With one of those you can drive through into Canada without having to produce a passport.
Why not have a similar thing for flying, even if it’s only on domestic flights? And the TSA representative in the article makes a good point. The more travelers who get signed on to this program, the fewer people there will be waiting at the normal TSA screening stations, so everyone will make it through faster. Sounds like a winning plan to me, at least as a short to medium term solution. The only question is… one hundred bucks? Are you willing to pay the government that much for the privilege of getting through the airport faster? While I understand there may be some resentment, I have to admit… I might be doing it.
It is quite a bit more than just paying $100. You have to fill out and submit a very extensive questionnaire and once that’s accepted then go in for a personal interview which is concluded by taking your fingerprints which get routed to the FBI for further checking. Pretty decent scrutiny all in all. I’ve already done it and it’s great for coming back into the country and skipping the long lines at immigration. Look forward to avoiding the security lines.
And if any part of your name includes “Mohammed”, you will automatically be accepted so as to avoid claims of racism or sexism or someotherism.
If it is a one-time fee, it may be worth it.
I wish I didn’t have to fund the TSA while sitting at home.
So they create a sorry situation, and if you want to avoid it, pay them a fee and they get to hire another bureaucracy. What is to prevent them from adding yet another onerous and dubious process and charging you to avoid it?
I’d like to know what authority TSA has to make two lines, one for first class passengers and one for everyone else..I paid my ticket and my taxes, why am I treated differently for a different class of ticket?
That is a very good question. The airlines should treat first class passengers better; they paid for the privilege. But how can the airlines command, as a private company, the federal government to treat their best customers better?
Legally and ethically, it is like paying a high priced tax attorney to literally bypass a necessary audit.
i did a little search and apparently the airlines control/pay for the area just before tsa thus they can give preferential treatment...maybe my beef is with the airlines?
I’m not quite getting the distinction for “first class”. Isn’t this for any seating assignment?
BTW, all of the 9-11 terrorists were sitting in first class.
I don’t know about other countries, but first class passengers as well as air crew get expedited through customs and immigration in Costa Rica. Don’t remember if this is true for U.S. as well. Come to think of it, the same was true 100 years ago. First class disembarked in New York, lower classes at Ellis Island.
Well, some of us travelers who have been mauled by TSA staff may agree to pay $100 if we are allowed to put on rubber gloves and squeeze hard the nuts and breasts of all the TSA staff on duty the next time we are at the airport to go through the security line. Payback.
I drive - takes longer (unless it’s within 7 hours of home) and the scenery is better. Don’t trust TSA to stop anyone who is a real terrorist and won’t pay exhorbitant prices for the “privilege” of flying.
Wasn't it papal indulgences that led to the protestant reformation in the late middle ages?
I guess this is just another form of JiffyPass, which costs turnpike users $1 per month and is worth it.
Agreed, we shouldn't have to pay the government to give us "absolution"; but it will give them some plausible deniability for singling out foreign-born muslim males between the ages of 12 and 30 who haven't passed the background check.
Until the ACLU and CAIR sue them again, that is.
That always bugged me.
For example, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, of Fort Hood fame, would have qualified with flying colors prior to his murder rampage. Alternatively, I probably would not. In 1969, a large group of summer resort employees, including me, were walking back from a picnic with, among other things, open bottles of wine. The police charged us all with open liquor in a public place. We pleaded guilty and paid a $30 fine. This was a criminal conviction, which I have had to mention on many forms since.
This solves nothing and risks lives.
TSA = “Thousands Standing Around”