The Car Pool Lane of Airport Security

This is the ultimate admission that some flabby walrus from the Bronx inserting a magnetic wand inside your underpants, far from being a Valkyrie in the War on Terror, is accomplishing absolute dick. Remember, someone who
d be willing to pay 80 dollars to circumvent security couldn
t possibly have a Nike full of plastique.

Soon, first class may not just refer to where you sit on an airliner, but how you get on board.

The Transportation Security Administration is considering a plan to allow some frequent fliers to pay a fee and skip the time-consuming pre-flight security frisking.

The program, called Registered Traveler, would give passengers the option of paying an $80 a year fee and submitting to a background check. If they pass, they would be issued a card that would allow them to walk past the lines of people taking off their shoes and being patted down with an electric wand.

Swell. What
s most enraging about this scheme is that it tries to make money off of the ubiquity of an aggravating social placebo. We all know these pat downs don
t work—every week, some newspaper sneaks an intrepid reporter into an airport with a gun or a Swiss Army Knife, and with mild ingenuity manages to get them right past the bored minimum-wagers. Like most copyright protection, the only people these security checks thwart are those least likely to be doing anything wrong—except the guys doing something wrong here aren
t trying to rip off the latest insufferable Coldplay CD, but slit the pilot
s throat with an exacto knife. But instead of radically rejiggering an impotent system, it
s nice to see someone think to himself,
Hey, as long as the system
s not working, might as well make money off it not working.


Edit Your Comment

  1. LLH says:

    they’ve been talking about this scheme in LA for the past few years as a “test area” for those frequent world travelers. funny thing is about a year ago a friend and i were traveling and as we’re both frequent fliers we know the security drill. well, she actually walked through the metal detector WITH her cell phone in hand plain site. the buzzer didn’t even go off!

  2. OkiMike says:

    Wait! Weren’t the people who started this whole mess flying in FIRST CLASS?!?
    What a bunch of fucking idiots…

  3. ZackM says:

    Travelers that join the program still have to go through a metal detector and have their bags x-rayed.

    As for the shoe thing, it was a bone of contention at a Congressional hearing last June. At that point they still had to take off their shoes, coats and take laptops out of briefcases, but they were considering relaxing those rules. A final decision isn’t expected until late spring early summer on a lot of this stuff.

    People who join the program and undergo the background check will be issued a smart card with a biometric stored on it, fingerprint and iris have been the popular ones so far and they’re the most accurate. The registered traveler will be allowed entry to a special gate where they’ll use the smart card and be authenticated with a biometric. Then they’ll go through the metal detector and whatnot. Basically it’s a speed pass and you don’t have to wait in line with the plebeians.

  4. airship says:

    A terrorist will never take advantage of this program. As we all know from listening to our rational national leaders, terrorists spend all of their cash on weapons, bombs, and copies of the Koran. None of them has a spare $80 to pay for this program. Besides, our government has undoubtedly spent billions of dollars studying the situation before implementing this well thought-out program – just as they did before implementing the current airport security system – to ensure that we will all remain just as safe and secure as we are now.

  5. Papercutninja says:

    ZackM, if you are correct (it sounds plausible), why would this program even be put in place? How much faster could they possibly go through? How much more money would the gov’t need to hire extra staff, buy more equipment, train the said staff on equipment, then occupy and maintain a space that only 1% of travelers would utilize? It doesn’t add up to me.

    As for the authentications, fingerprint scanning is easily defeated with something like silly putty. This idea has so many holes in it, that terrorists are drooling (more than usual) right now in hopes that the TSA approves of this cockamamie idea.

  6. ZackM says:

    The program is already running in Orlando and there were tests at five other airports that ran until late last year. The government wants to privatize the program. Companies will hire the staff and pay for the equipments, but the government will run the background checks.

    Fingerprint may be easy to fool in some areas, it’s not easy to trick when someone is watching you place your finger on the scanner. That’s how the programs are set up so far and I don’t see that changing.

    And while the government does many things wrong the background check is pretty good. There are still many lingering questions, privacy concerns chief among them, but they will be coming to an airport near you soon. I used to edit a publication covering the ID and biometrics industry and followed this program closely.

    As for getting through line quicker, every have to wat 30 minuets to get through security in Vegas? Orlando? Chicago? It will be quicker.