Daily Dose: What Would You Do to Avoid the Bottleneck at Airport Security?

TSA has been under fire since last year’s implementation of invasive security measures, now the debate continues with the use of the ‘Trusted Travelers’ Program. In the Washington Post article by Ashley Halsey III,

‘Panel urges TSA to implement ‘trusted travelers’ program’

The article discusses a report commissioned by the U.S. Travel Association. The report gives their recommendations on how to ease bottlenecks at security checkpoints.

The report states,

Treating every airport passenger as a potential terrorist slows the security system, is needlessly frustrating and deters some people from flying.

Their recommendation urges airlines to allow passengers to check one bag free of charge and urges the creation of a voluntary “trusted travelers” program.

Currently, with the cost of checked bag fees passengers are deciding to bring on more carryon bags— increases the holdup of already long security lines and also increases pressure on TSA.

A voluntary trusted-traveler approach would require passengers to provide credit information, tax returns and other personal data to prove that members are not a security risk. Passengers would also provide fingerprints and in return receive an identification card that would allow them to breeze through security. When members get to the airport they would enter a kiosk where they would get their fingerprints scanned or pass through iris technology to confirm their identity. They would still have to have their bags checked for any explosive devices, but they would not have to remove their hats, coats, and shoes.

I think this is a great idea, but I’d like to see how they manage this type of program. I would definitely volunteer, but it would depend on how much work or hassle it would be to get the ID card.

What do you think of the “Trusted Travelers” program?

Is it still too invasive? Do you think it’s too “Big Brother”?

How about some suggestions for TSA on how to manage the program?

Or what would you recommend to TSA to reduce the bottleneck?


“Daily Dose of the Washington Post” is a blog series created by GovLoop in partnership with The Washington Post. If you see great stories in the Post and want to ask a question around it, send them to [email protected].

Previous Daily Dose Posts:

Leave a Comment


Leave a Reply

Jeff Ribeira

Pretty interesting concept I suppose. The checked bag thing doesn’t mean that much to me since I almost always fly southwest on domestic flights which gives you free checked luggage already. Security lines would be so nice to bypass though. I’m interested to know what the fee would be for being put on that list? I’m sure they would also have some type of prerequisites where you have to fly ‘x’ amount of miles a month, have a minimum household income, minimum credit score, etc…basically making it unavailable to the majority of Americans. We’ll see if ever happens though…is there an anticipated implementation date?

Andrew Ian Derksen

This reminds me of living abroad. There were always two lines when entering a developing nation – one was for “normal people”, and the other was for those with the assets to hire an “expeditor”. An expeditor was theoretically a person who was familiar with local trade laws, and who would assist you and the customs agent by preparing all of the appropriate paperwork in advance. In reality, the expeditor was a person who knew all of the right people to bribe so that you could bypass the customs inspection line.

This appears to be a similar program. You can pay the airline extra for the convenience of avoiding the security theatre.

Jeff Ellsworth

I fly 4-6 times per year – perhaps not enough to qualify – but would be interested if this were available to me and the requirements not too onerous.

Just out of curiosity, can someone explain how my credit score and tax return would help establish me as a trusted traveler? Please tell me this isn’t a “means test” designed to benefit only the wealthy.


I travel probably 20 weeks a year and always do carry-on. I agree- there should be something for frequent flyers – although this has already been tried by one company that went out of business after having problems coordinating w/ TSA and figuring out a business model

Susan Dykshoorn

Anyone with a DOD, DOE, USDA, or equivilent security clearance should be expedidated because they have already completed said checks. Also anyone else who is willing to have said checks done prior to traveling should be expediated.

There needs to be one national database with all information in it; with both the good information (security clearances) and the bad information (criminal records).

Andrea Baker

Clear/Clear Me is a program I have signed up for to be expedited through security, unfortunately since the rebirth of this program they are only in 2 airports. Denver and Orlando. However, by the end of the year, there should be another 12 on board. Additionally, Europe has a similar program in which I expect to join up for when I travel there in May/June. I do agree with Susan, since I hold a TS Clearance I believe that should be enough for all airports domestically to trust me and let me be expedited through.

Allen Sheaprd

I’m all for it. Its not funny having the DoD clear a person at the Secret level only to have the TSA rummage through their baggage and shoes.

Christopher Whitaker

Three words: High Speed Rail

Yes, I know it has nothing to do with airports, but if we can decrease demand on the airlines – it’ll decrease the bottlenecks in regards to security.

For shorter regional trips, it would make more sense to take a high speed train than it would to fly there.

Ed Albetski

Jeff, debt, or a low credit score, is a red flag in any security investigation and is often an obstacle to high clearances. So was sexual orientation, at one time at least, I have no idea of criteria now.

The problem with having a high clearance is that you don’t get issued an ID that you can use to notify folks of that fact. Our badges were for “in-house” use only, and they were fussy about it.

The fear factor always makes the US look bad historically. Putting Japanese Americans in the camps on the west coast during WWII is getting harder to explain to the current generations. Somehow I see folks 50 to 100 years from now reading about the TSA today and thinking that we were all cowardly idiots.

Carol Davison

1. Airlines need to start charging for CARRY ON. Spirit already does. This will prevent long lines, people bringing foot lockers on board, and no room for other passengers carry on.

2. How would TSA know that you still had a clearance, and didn’t ax murder your co-workers on Friday?