The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is moving forward with a test of a program that will allow certain "trusted" flyers to go through security much faster. Will the promise of a speedier screening process be worth the price of giving up some privacy?
The move toward faster airport security lanes is gathering momentum as the TSA begins a pilot program with select airports and airlines. Frequent flyers of Delta Air Lines and American Airlines will be the initial participants of the voluntary and free program. The TSA will let the airlines determine eligibility for the program, likely to be their most frequent, high-mileage elite flyers who will undergo background and other checks based on the information they provide to the TSA. Once they have been cleared, these passengers will be able to use expedited security checkpoints at major hub airports for American and Delta. These include Atlanta-Hartsfield; Dallas/Ft. Worth; Detroit-Metro; and Miami International Airport.
The TSA is also extending the program to participants of government trusted traveler programs currently in place -- Global Entry, NEXUS and SENTRI. If the pilot program is successful, the TSA will expand the program to include Alaska Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and US Airways.
Citing the need for a common-sense approach toward security screening, TSA Administrator John Pistole says: "Enhancing identity-based screening is another common sense step in the right direction as we continue to strengthen overall security, and improve the passenger experience whenever possible."