TSA Weighs "Trusted Traveler" Program

by Libby Zay 
Posted May 5th 2011 01:45 PM

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kalleboo/Flickr

Here's some good news: The Transportation Security Administration is working on a "Trusted Traveler" concept that could allow air passenger to speed through security checks by keeping their shoes on, leaving laptops in bags, and avoiding body scanners altogether.

Dubbed the "Trusted Traveler" program, the Wall Street Journal says the major shift would be one of the biggest improvements at the airport since 2001.

According to TSA administrator John Pistole, the TSA would identify potential candidates by taking data from airline frequent-flier programs. Trusted flier status would be indicated with a bar code on the boarding pass that will be processed by computers and scanners that are to be rolled out at airport checkpoints later this year. Once cleared, the fliers would be able to pass through an expedited security line.

The TSA is weighing their options, but as with any program there would be exceptions and rules, says Pistole. The program would likely only be tailored to specific low-risk routes, particularly those with air marshals on board flights, and might not be offered to passengers on a flight that has bookings for people on the government's "watch list."

"We still want to keep some randomness and unpredictability in there so terrorists can't game the system," says Pistole.

The TSA plans to kick off the program this summer by allowing pilots and flight attendants separate screening without body scanners or pat-downs. If all goes well, full implementation could happen, but will likely take much longer.

"Let's get away from one size fits all," says Pistole. "We think we can improve the processes and focus more on people we know nothing about."

Busy airports such as Denver International and Orlando International already use the "Clear Card," which acts much like a Fast Pass at Disney. After undergoing a one-time background check, iris scan and fingerprinting, fliers are issued a card that allows them to make a quick stop at a biometric scanning before cutting to the front of a security line. The card comes with an annual price tag of $179.

Kate Hanni, founder and spokeswoman for a flier advocacy group Flyersrights.org (and a 2010 Huffington Post Game Changer), says she believes these types of pre-screening programs should be expanded by the government.

"This creates a way for low-risk people to get though quickly and unclog the lines for the rest of the travelers," Hanni said. "We need to start looking at the people, opposed to the objects on their bodies."

Do you think TSA's "Trusted Traveler" Program Is...
An excellent idea. It saves people like me time and stress!620 (73.2%)
Really stupid.227 (26.8%)

Filed Under: Air Travel, News

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Whiteathame

Screw the$e "Tru$ted Traveler" crooks.

May 09 2011 at 8:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Whiteathame

"This creates a way for low-risk people - WHO CAN AFFORD TO PAY AN EXTRA HUNDRED DOLLARS OR TWO, ANNUALLY - to get though quickly and unclog the lines for the rest of the travelers," Hanni said. "We need to start looking at the people, opposed to the objects on their bodies."

I furnish a DoD-issued CAC card as security ID, why should I have to pay $179 annually for a "good-boy privilege"?

May 09 2011 at 8:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ua4life18

come on Now what's the T.S.A. supposed to do when you have guys sneaking bombs in their underwear and sneaking a bomb in their shoes. We don't want to be strip searched but we also don't want to offend people by profiling. I'm pretty sure theirs an old saying that's somewhere along the line of you cant have your cake and eat it to. I my self feel that we should target specific individuals but then were going to here the racial profiling cries which i feel a trusted traveler program is going to create as a matter of fact T.S.A. administrator "Let's get away from one size fits all,"We think we can improve the processes and focus more on people we know nothing about." But then again im not one for political correctness.

May 08 2011 at 9:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Aris_A

We are all trusted travelers. We are all innocent until proven guilty. We are all constitutionally protected from sexually intrusive searches, with the rare exception of people with outstanding warrants or who have given specific, articulable probable cause to be searched. Get your filthy hands out of our pants, TSA! Until this vile molestation stops, I won't fly. I would have flown at least thirty flights over the past six months, but I won't be treated like John Pistole's little sex toy. I won't line up for sickening child pornographers to take naked photos of me or my loved ones. We are staying away from this whole un-American sexcurity theater gauntlet of humiliation and abuse.

May 06 2011 at 10:51 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
4th amendment

We have a Trusted Traveler program already - it's called the 4th amendment. This is one 1K United flier who refuses to fly any more and would not trust these morons of the TSA with anything. It is like the "Patriot" Act that is so 'UN' Patriotic with it's drag-net searches without warrants. No American citizen has caused an act of terror on an airplane. We are spending billions, lobbyst selling the strip search machines and John's hair brained "security" ideas - this guy is lawyer who knows NOTHING about security - he use to give legal advice on torture. I use to think that the University of Indiana where John went to Law school did not offer Consitutional Law but then heard Fred H. Cate speak. He is was also educated at University of Indiana. Fred knew the 4th amendment. John and Janet are un partiotic terrorist and I refuse to partake in their Nazi approach to security.

May 05 2011 at 7:07 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Be Trusted Campaign

Join our campaign to get Congress to implement a trusted traveler campaign - www.betrustednow.org. We only launched a month ago, but this story shows we're getting great traction!

May 05 2011 at 4:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jean

I always like to eat my air travel with a hefty bit of classism.

May 05 2011 at 2:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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