It’s about time: A TSA Fast-Pass

I am 100% on board with this. Look, I am a frequent traveler. I have been cleared by TSA dozens and dozens of times. I am easy to do a background check on. I am an American citizen. I have no arrests whatsoever. I am an active member of an ELCA Lutheran Church; hardly radical. I have lived in the same small town in Iowa for 17 years. I am a military veteran. I previously attained a top secret security clearance. I am a member of the American Legion. I am a capitalist investor. I am a consistent tax payer. I have many acquaintances who have known me for decades and can vouch for me. I am absolutely, positively a minimal risk traveler.

If I am willing to pay for the background check, why shouldn’t I be given the opportunity for an expedited security scan?

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.

Naturally, the left, which fetishizes and values a vague concept of equality over all things, sees all of this as EXACTLY the same as Jim Crow.

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39 Responses to It’s about time: A TSA Fast-Pass

  1. Bman says:

    So, pay $100 to be treated like a human. I find it a little tacky.

  2. Uke says:

    Of course they see that as discriminatory against the poor that presumably can’t afford an extra 100 bucks. Please do try to ignore the fact that the truly poor, those that really can’t afford 100 extra bucks, pretty much never fly anywhere anyway.

    If this program is discriminatory, Jim Crow type of stuff, then shall we hack on the big screen TV industry, the yacht and private jet industry, the luxury car sector of the auto industry? Because those things are also not readily available to the poor, and they are FAR more expensive than 100 bucks.

  3. R.D. Walker says:

    No different than paying extra to stay at the Marriott rather than the Motel 6.

    To eat at Morton Steakhouse rather than Taco Bell.

    To fly first class rather than coach.

    To drink McCallan rather than Old Crow.

    To drive a Mercedes rather than a Ford Fiesta.

    To live in a 4 br, 3 bth house rather than a trailer.

  4. Bman says:

    Why have a security scan at all for the folks who pay extra. Seriously.

  5. R.D. Walker says:

    As I understand it, everybody – even pilots and TSA agents themselves – get some degree of minimal daily scrutiny. Just not the lines and the grope.

    By the way, I don’t think this is pay for better treatment per se. You are covering the administrative cost of your clearance.

  6. Uke says:

    Yeah, in the end this sort of change makes the labor load on the TSA screeners that much lighter. Lines get shorter. Quality and precision in the screening process improves.

    This is win-win.

  7. Bman says:

    There will be extra charges eventually. Just saying

  8. Uke says:

    I am perfectly fine with that paradigm, honestly. I like being able to pay for as much or as little as I need/want.

    I am perfectly fine with the Spirit Airlines system of, “If you want to just take a flight with your clothes and a carry on, you can do that and the flight will be super cheap.”

    If you want more, you have to pay for it, then the flight isn’t as cheap. Everything about that makes sense, as opposed to the system at the other airlines where some people that travel light essentially subsidize others that travel heavy.

  9. janice says:

    It is different than all those other examples of paying for upgrades, they are all private enterprises, the TSA lines are Gov. when we start allowing the Gov. to collect fees for better treatment we are in trouble.

    I only fly about 4 times a year (8 flights there and back) and I would gladly pay extra to skip those crappy TSA lines, but that won’t be an option for me. I just recently missed my flight out of Minneapolis while standing in a super slow TSA line, everyone around me also missed theirs, while right next to us there where two empty lines fully staffed for the preferred (prechecked) fliers. Seriously you are for this? The Gov. decides who gets invited to apply for this privilege?” WTF.

  10. R.D. Walker says:

    “when we start allowing the Gov. to collect fees for better treatment we are in trouble.”

    A couple of thoughts there, Janice.

    First off, travel isn’t government and security doesn’t have to be TSA. There is nothing inherently “government” about airport screening. Prior to 9/11, there were no government screeners. In fact, the Orlando Florida airport is going back to private screeners. Expect other airports to follow suit.

    Second, we have already gone down the path of pay to play in government. Bail comes to mind. Pay and go free. Don’t pay and stay in jail.

    Finally, I don’t think this is properly categorized as pay-for-better-treatment. For years I have asked why I must be given the complete treatment. I am no risk and can pass a background check. I should have a card that allows me to get by with minimal treatment. Pilots get them. Aircrews get them. Airport staff get them. Why can’t I?

    The response is that all of the above examples have employers who pay for background checks. My response is always, “I will pay!” If I am willing to pay for the administrative costs, why shouldn’t I be given the same opportunity for an expedited check a flight assistant or gate assistant gets?

  11. Uke says:

    @Janice

    Seriously you are for this? The Gov. decides who gets invited to apply for this privilege?

    Actually, the private airlines themselves get to decide who gets the invites into the program. A basic set of requirements is established by the TSA, and then private airlines actually decide who gets invited.

    “To qualify, frequent fliers must meet undisclosed TSA criteria and get invited in by the airlines.

    It’s a make-sense solution to the problem of the most provably harmless travelers being treated as if they are potential threats. It really will save time for everyone all around.

  12. Locke n Load says:

    I’ve been using a Fast Pass for years, just not on a plane. We frequent border crossers get tired of the BS searches too. FAST gets us thru without worrying about them tearing apart our trucks on a whim. The background checks ARE extensive but I can tell ya, its not as bad as getting a Hazmat endorsement. I’m on EVERYONES radar.

    Costs me extra too btw.

  13. R.D. Walker says:

    I had to pay to get a permit to carry a handgun.

  14. Locke n Load says:

    If the government wasn’t so fond of “general funds” I’d actually be happpier with fee for service structures. Damn fine way to control the size of govt

  15. R.D. Walker says:

    Costs a $100 per person a day to get into Disney World. It costs $20 a car-load for two weeks to get into Yellowstone. Why should the real world cost so much less than fantasy world? Why shouldn’t the people who go to Yellowstone pay for the majority of Yellowstone’s costs?

  16. Bman says:

    Personally, I could care less whether or not they have an x-press line. It just reminds me of Mob mentality. For example, if you pay extra, we wont shake you down, (now, I understand that there are no fees, just the cost of the background check, which does NOT cost $100, btw. I do these damned near everyday and they are free in several states. Eventually, which I have stated before, the airlines will start charging fees for this. Mark my words.) This reminds me of going to Vegas, and slipping the guy a 20 so you can get the good seats.

  17. janice says:

    “My response is always, “I will pay!” If I am willing to pay for the administrative costs, why shouldn’t I be given the same opportunity for an expedited check a flight assistant or gate assistant gets?”

    I too would pay for the expedited check in, but the offer will not be extended to me. When security is handled by private companies, fine they can charge any expedited fee they want, but until then my tax dollars are paying the TSA’s salary and I expect equal treatment.

    “Finally, I don’t think this is properly categorized as pay-for-better-treatment. For years I have asked why I must be given the complete treatment. I am no risk and can pass a background check. I should have a card that allows me to get by with minimal treatment. Pilots get them. Aircrews get them. Airport staff get them. Why can’t I?”

    This is exactly my point. If you can why can’t I? This is not a pay to play scheme, but an exclusive offer only offered to a select few. I can pay, but they won’t let me play.

    Bail is available for everyone charged, excluding flight risks, just not everyone can afford to pay it. Different scenario entirely.

    I am perfectly fine with a fee for service structure, as long as it is available for everyone to participate in.

  18. R.D. Walker says:

    I agree it should be available to anyone who is willing to pay the administrative costs and can pass the background check.

  19. Uke says:

    This is exactly my point. If you can why can’t I? This is not a pay to play scheme, but an exclusive offer only offered to a select few. I can pay, but they won’t let me play.

    You might want to speak to individual airlines, in that case, since they are the ones that will be extending invitations into this program, Janice. Not the government. For what it’s worth, I think the service should be open to anyone willing to pay able to pass the background check, but it’s not simply a “government invitation,” as you characterize.

    This is little different than any other private business selecting their most valuable, frequent patrons, and offering them benefits as thanks for their patronage. The only difference is that the government is requiring a security background check for this service.

  20. R.D. Walker says:

    They should at least tell me what I have to do… log so many flights, so many miles, join the Mile High Club… whatever.

  21. Uke says:

    Yeah, that the requirements are still undisclosed is not ideal. I’m assuming the main requirement will simply be to pass the background check, but I find myself wanting to know with more certainty what it will take to be eligible.

  22. Bman says:

    I think there should be an express line at -
    1) DMV
    2. Amusement park rides
    3. Fast food drive thu’s (No mini vans allowed)

  23. R.D. Walker says:

    I was a Continental Airlines Platinum Miles Flyer during the Guam years. I would get to the A.B. Won Pat International Airport at 0500 on Saturday morning for the flight to Narita in Japan and there would be literally a thousand Japanese tourists trying to get past TSA. I would waltz right over to the Magic Blue Carpet line and flit right through TSA.

    It was ethereal. Still got the full TSA treatment, just didn’t have to stand in line to get it.

  24. Bman says:

    This disabled little boy didn’t have Fast-Pass apparently.

    Which brings up another issue; will juvenile children be subject to said background checks? Will Juveniles even be invited by the airlines to use Fast Pass? Think about the convinience of large families traveling and being able to all use Fast Pass.

  25. janice says:

    My understanding was the Gov. set the parameters and the airlines extended the invitations. I would think the airlines would offer this to everyone as it would open another revenue stream for them.

    It looks to me the Gov. set the rules and is letting the airlines that have the capabilities administer the program.

    There is a difference, the Gov. controls the security lines.
    I have no problem with private business offering whatever perks they want to loyal customers, I participate in some loyalty programs myself, but the Gov. should not be in that business.

  26. R.D. Walker says:

    My six year old kid pretty much has a fast pass now. He doesn’t need an ID, nobody under 12 has to remove shoes, he never has anything in his pockets to empty. He just blows right through. He has to wait in line with his non fast pass holding folks, however.

  27. JCT says:

    RD, you list what I take to be your laudatory attributes or experiences, but don’t list your clear aversion to Rick Santorum, nor your allegiance to conviction-free Mitt Romney. Throw in a commonly shared lack of regard for President Obama and aren’t you back to taking off your belt and shoes?

    Or perhaps the TSA should profile traveling passengers. Then your attributes, including those extra ones that I have assigned, don’t provide any reason to have you subject to detailed TSA screening. That would save you money.

    The TSA is not a high performance organization, but many Americans are convinced that they provide essential security.

  28. R.D. Walker says:

    First, I have no allegiance to Romney. Give me a better option and I will dump him like a bad prom date.

    Second, I have listed ad nausem why I don’t like Santorum. Basically, I find social conservationism as policy to be corrosive to individual liberty and indistinguishable from other forms of enforced political correctness. I do not approve of social engineering even when the engineers are trying to engineer people so they live the way I live.

  29. BaconNeggs says:

    Already existing “Elite” systems, allow those with deep pockets, to breeze through various government obstacles.

    I can definately see the advantages of such a system such as LnL trucking back and forth across the borders, however, part of this special Airport treatment sticks in my craw.

    Americans like to pretend that everyone is equal under the law and there is non of that nasty European classism, but whats the diff when celebrities and the wealthy, can routinely use back doors and cut ahead of the line to by-pass the lowly plebs who must stand in line and suffer indignities.

    This Elite system already exist in the UK but its called “prior biometric clearance” or some other fancy name, that allows the elite who can afford it, to breeze on through.

  30. notamobster says:

    would this be any different than any other security clearance? i dont think so. when i worked at delta i had all the badges i needed but i also had a smart sticker which allowed me unrestricted access to secure customs areas.

    there is also a trusted shipper program which allows companies and individuals to without showing whats in their container. the objective is security.

    i see only one issue – it should be offered to all who will pay and pass.

  31. TN-Cat says:

    I’m all for this. I was hoping they would put together a program like this as long it is done for the right people and not just for the politically connected.

    My wife boards 4 to 8 flights every week. She can tell you countless stories of TSA attitudes and sheer stupidity. Trust me, women get it far worse than men. They get the treatment from both genders, just depends on the race of the passenger. I know that sounds jaded but it is the truth.

  32. Uke says:

    Agreed Nota.

    @BnE
    I don’t think this has anything to do with elitism. This is a simple pay-for-service. It’s direct, too. You pay for the background check, and you get the privilege. An easy if-then statement.

    It’s not like Paris Hilton getting to the front of the line simple because of who she is, what her name is.

  33. rj says:

    TSA is one reason I do not fly anymore, I drive…if I can’t get there in my truck I don’t go…I feel sorry for those who must fly but I go by a quote from one founding father…those who give up freedom for temporary security…

    the pass does sound good though…

    kinda like a chl holder in tx does not have to go through instant b/g check to buy another gun

  34. Jim22 says:

    The job to have is to be the one who hands out these passes.

    Oh, and I’m sure the terrorists won’t be able to find anyone with the $100 who is able to pass the background check.

  35. Notamobster says:

    Jim – that’s a bit of an oversimplification. ANYONE can defeat the TSA. This is about speeding things up.

  36. John says:

    Apparently even the elect *can* be deceived. Socialism is truly insiduous if even someone like you can be suckered R.D. Are you seriously saying that the paying of money to convert one non-free transaction (the regular slow line) into another (the fast line) is in any way comparable to converting a free transaction (staying at a Motel 8 ) into another (staying at the Marriott)?

    If you cannot see the difference, you are on the road to communism, much like the rest of the USA.

  37. R.D. Walker says:

    Explain the difference.

    You seem to be advocating a system in which I am forced to stand in the same line with everyone else regardless of my ability to pay. You want a system in which I am denied any opportunity improve my situation at any price due to some notion of equality and fairness? That sounds a hell of a lot more like “all animals are equal” communism to me.

  38. John says:

    The difference is that in one (choosing a hotel) you are executing a transaction with other free individuals. In the other you are, Jewish Kapo-like, collaborating with your jailers.

    With the security checks, your inalienable right to liberty is simply violated and all your payment is doing is choosing the level of violation. The only other option you have is not to fly, but that is merely another acceptance of the primary violation of liberty.

    It is so deeply saddening to see Americans — the people who are supposed to get this liberty stuff — be sedated into this kind of serfdom.

  39. Rockheim says:

    What an absolute waste of time, money and effort.

    The TSA has been and always will be a joke. It’s already been said. the only thing you’re paying for is to not be inconvenienced as much as others. Congratulations. Your jail cell now has a view.

    The one and only thing this does is to further prove what a useless exercise this entire TSA boondoggle has been.

    So much for “security” when one can merely pay a sum to opt out of it.

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