Would you pay $100 to skip the TSA screening line?

posted at 11:50 am on March 17, 2012 by Jazz Shaw

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.
Journal Community

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.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

If Republicans would admit that Bush was wrong about TSA, … and let airlines handle their own security, then if wealthy people want to have an airline all to themselves that does extensive background checks and biometric data and quick board times, they can do so to their hearts consent, and poor people can frequent airlines that suit their needs as well without the government enforcing a two tiered system on society.

FloatingRock on March 17, 2012 at 1:43 PM

No question in this Republican’s mind that Bush was wrong about TSA. But, unless/until we get rid of it, I’ll gladly pay $20 a year for the privilege of not having to remove my shoes, belt, etc. before going through security.

And I’m all for having a separate airline for “wealthy people” along those lines. As it is, flying has become such an unpleasant experience that I’d avoid it if I could. But, since I can’t, I would be in favor of an airline that eliminated those factors that make flying such a major pain in the neck.

For all you class envy practitioners, I suppose you also complain about the existence of luxury hotels, luxury cars, etc. My gawd, you sound like a bunch of communists.

Syzygy on March 17, 2012 at 2:39 PM

I’ll give $100 to any campaign whose candidate pledges to disband the TSA in his first year in office.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on March 17, 2012 at 2:42 PM

If Republicans would admit that Bush was wrong about TSA, … and let airlines handle their own security, then if wealthy people want to have an airline all to themselves that does extensive background checks and biometric data and quick board times, they can do so to their hearts consent, and poor people can frequent airlines that suit their needs as well without the government enforcing a two tiered system on society.

FloatingRock on March 17, 2012 at 1:43 PM

The TSA was the democrat’s idea. It was they who insisted that airport screeners be federalized AND more importantly to the dems, brought into a union. the GOP was against it. Yes, Bush ultimately signed it part of his unwise “outreach” to the democrats.

Curmudgeon on March 17, 2012 at 3:03 PM

The new South Park on the TSA was killer.

wte9 on March 17, 2012 at 12:00 PM

It’s the Toilet Safety Administration.

Tzetzes on March 17, 2012 at 3:05 PM

Oh no, if a $5 ID card would disenfranchise minority voters, then a $100 fee to skip the grope line will do the same. That means the TSA is racist!

John Deaux on March 17, 2012 at 3:10 PM

This was predictable years ago. Now, you get to pay $100 to not have your constitutional rights violated.

lorien1973 on March 17, 2012 at 3:21 PM

I wonder how I’d fare if I already had a background check with the FAA and the State Department, and had full access to the airport runway. Would I have to pay $100 if I had such an ID, to ESCORT people off the planes and get on them?

Would that help me find my relatives inside the pickup baggage area (in PR ppl are not allowed to go in) and help them get their luggage out? That was awesome.

That’s one reason I’ve not been back “home”-the TSA crap. I hate it with moms and dads disarming the stroller with the car seat, formula and whatnot-been through that. UUgghh.

ProudPalinFan on March 17, 2012 at 3:35 PM

K these refreshes are starting to get really anoying. I’ve lost several posts in the last few weeks.

$100 voting fee. $100 speech fee, renewable every 5 years so that you can post on the internet. $100 inner city fee, keeps your house from random searches for drugs, guns, copyright violations, building code inspections, chemical spill inspections, approved parenting technique inspections, etc. $100 to attend your church of choice, otherwise you will not be allowed to express a religious opinion in public. Good ideas or bad? This TSA idea is worse.

AnotherOpinion on March 17, 2012 at 3:38 PM

Katy the mean old lady
well that’s why your known as ‘the mean old lady’
hehe

angrymike on March 17, 2012 at 3:39 PM

Would you pay $100 to skip the TSA screening line?

Yes.

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on March 17, 2012 at 3:41 PM

No question in this Republican’s mind that Bush was wrong about TSA. But, unless/until we get rid of it, I’ll gladly pay $20 a year for the privilege of not having to remove my shoes, belt, etc. before going through security.

And I’m all for having a separate airline for “wealthy people” along those lines. As it is, flying has become such an unpleasant experience that I’d avoid it if I could. But, since I can’t, I would be in favor of an airline that eliminated those factors that make flying such a major pain in the neck.

For all you class envy practitioners, I suppose you also complain about the existence of luxury hotels, luxury cars, etc. My gawd, you sound like a bunch of communists.

Syzygy on March 17, 2012 at 2:39 PM

In Soviet Russia the rules do not apply to the high level party officials. They enforce communism on the little people, but exempt themselves. You are proposing an essentialy comunistic idea, that you can buy your way into the party and exempt yourself from the rules and indignities of the little people. You are reserving for yourself and the elite only a basic consitutional right that you snear at when you hear the little people protesting their loss. Let them eat cake.

In America rights should not be bought and sold. Property, yes, rights, never!

AnotherOpinion on March 17, 2012 at 3:49 PM

Syzygy on March 17, 2012 at 2:39 PM
AnotherOpinion on March 17, 2012 at 3:49 PM

Your discussion is moot. That luxury airline exists. Ok, not an airline, but you can fly, in luxury, without having your genitals fondled.

Charter jets. Google it.

BobMbx on March 17, 2012 at 4:19 PM

AnotherOpinion on March 17, 2012 at 3:49 PM

You’ve got it all wrong. The separate airline that FloatingRock suggested would require passengers to subject themselves to an extensive background investigation (i.e., giving up the right to privacy) to bypass the TSA screening procedure. I’m not advocating for requiring anyone to give up their “basic constitutional right,” as you suggest.

Syzygy on March 17, 2012 at 4:37 PM

Charter jets. Google it.

BobMbx on March 17, 2012 at 4:19 PM

As if Google is required…. The cost of chartering a jet is many times the cost of traveling via commercial airline, and I sincerely doubt that those who can afford to charter a jet would choose to travel commercially. A third option would be nice.

Syzygy on March 17, 2012 at 4:45 PM

Why pay $100 when you can totally escape screening by wearing a turban and shouldering an AR-16.

MaiDee on March 17, 2012 at 5:09 PM

Each animal will be slaughtered by the method best suited to take animal… NEXT…
-

RalphyBoy on March 17, 2012 at 5:43 PM

I’d get a $100 pass if it wasn’t ‘every time’ that I had to fly (maybe I shouldn’t say that too loudly).

John_G on March 17, 2012 at 5:48 PM

I had been offered entrance to this. Unfortunately, it only applied to DFW airport at the time – where I no longer live. And, it doesn’t apply to any city through which I will regularly fly.

I don’t mind too much the idea of a background check. I had to have one for being a Boy Scout leader, and I have one for work. But, really, do we want the government doing a background check on *everyone*? Or, should they assume that everyone is innocent unless they exhibit some behavior hinting otherwise?

GWB on March 17, 2012 at 5:53 PM

I’m not willing to pay any amount of money to have my natural rights returned to me. Paying the government to not violate my right to travel, free association, unlawful search and seizure, and contract cedes the point that the government can declare when my rights apply and when they do not.

soladoras on March 17, 2012 at 6:23 PM

An idea long overdue in my opinion.

Will this site ever employ Constitutionalists? Instead, we get big government cheerleaders.

Dante on March 17, 2012 at 8:04 PM

It depends on how much privacy would have to be given up. But yes I would seriously consider paying $100 or even more to keep the TSA creeps’ hands off my disabled child. I don’t think I should have to do that but I would have to consider what is best for my child.

Of course it would be preferable to avoid flying altogether which is what we are doing now.

The TSA is a joke because they won’t profile the people who are most likely to be terrorists.

sherrimae on March 17, 2012 at 11:19 PM

I’m a 20 year active duty soldier with three years of combat time fighting terrorism, and have a Top Secret clearance. But I need to pay off the TSA to prove I’m not a danger? No surprise considering this is the same organization that made me take my boots off each time I came home on R&R in uniform. The TSA was created by idiots, is managed by idiots, and employs idiots.

CVMA-Dredd on March 17, 2012 at 11:53 PM

This is BACKWARDS!!!

Shouldn’t the TSA be paying the passenger for a nudie peek???

The TSA should let you pass if you provide wallet-size nude photos on a CDROM.

(…and then you could turn the TSA in to the FBI on porn charges as you pass through…)

landlines on March 18, 2012 at 12:22 AM

Will this site ever employ Constitutionalists? Instead, we get big government cheerleaders.

Dante on March 17, 2012 at 8:04 PM

x2

Common Sense on March 18, 2012 at 1:51 AM

They are missing two large sets of people who’ve already had background checks: (1) Those with a security clearance and (2) concealed carry holders.

They could have instituted this for either or both of them long ago. Notice that they haven’t and don’t plan to do so.

This is about gaining further control, not making TSA friendlier and more efficient.

ranten.n.raven on March 18, 2012 at 8:46 AM

The $100 fee is for a five-year period. The application is no more cumbersome than, say, an application for a passport. When I applied, I was approved within 24 hours. Of course, YMMV, but if you have a passport, they’ve already got a lot of the information on file.

Syzygy on March 17, 2012 at 12:56 PM
-
I guess my mileage does vary :-(
-
From the TSA website:
-
“U.S. citizens who are members of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Global Entry, NEXUS, and SENTRI Trusted Traveler programs are eligible to participate in TSA’s program.”
-
For example:

“The Global Online Enrollment System allows registered users to enter their own applications for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Trusted Traveler Programs, and approved members to edit their information as needed (mistakes on the original application cannot be corrected once the application is certified – your mistakes will need to be brought to the attention of CBP during your interview).

Once a completed application is certified by the applicant and the non-refundable payment is successfully processed, CBP will review it and determine whether or not to conditionally approve the application. If your application is conditionally approved, your GOES account will be updated to instruct you to schedule an appointment for an interview. Every individual who would like to apply for membership – children included and multiple applicants in one household- must create a separate account within GOES, submit a separate application, and schedule a separate interview appointment upon conditional approval.”

diogenes on March 18, 2012 at 2:32 PM

Hell yes!

Babsy on March 18, 2012 at 4:13 PM

Comment pages: 1 2