Senate Bill Seeks To Ban Frequent Flyer Security Lane

Airline frequent flyers expect a number of perks for their loyalty from the airlines they fly on, one of these perks at many airports is an ‘elite line’ at security check points allowing frequent flyers and first class passengers to skip the long queues of waiting passengers … but a new bill introduced on the U.S. Senate floor by Senator Ben Nelson (D-Neb) aims to shut these lines down.


Sen. Nelson’s claims his bill, the Air Passenger Fairness Act, “is about fairness,” stating “Regardless of whether you have a first-class ticket or have reached a certain frequent flier status, the purpose of the airport security screening line is to ensure traveler safety. Allowing a select few to cut in front of those who are waiting patiently, just in order to provide a perk, has nothing to do with safety.


Sen. Nelson’s Air Passenger Fairness Act would allow the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) PreCheck fast track screening programs to continue, while barring airports and airlines from continuing to operate security lines restricted to top-tier frequent flyers and first class passengers.


The fee for registering for the TSA’s PreCheck is US$100 and requires passengers to undergo a security background check, where as airline ‘elite lines’ are typically reserved for travelers flying in excess of 50,000 miles annually and requires no additional fees or background checks.


Sen. Nelson’s bill primarily impacts business travelers, the bread-and-butter revenue travelers for airlines and airports.  While every passenger pays the same security fee on their airline tickets in the United States, making airline travel longer and more arduous for those who pump the most consistent money into the industry, and pay the aviation security fees most frequently, can only negatively impact airlines and airports.


Looking at the scope of everything a U.S. Senator should be focusing on domestically and globally … was anyone really bothered that people who fly in excess of 50,000 miles annually can get through an airport security checkpoint quicker?


Ultimately the Airline Passenger Fairness Act is not fair to frequent flyers, airlines or airports.


Happy Flying!




  1. Oh, the cornhusker kickbacker strikes again! “It’s about fairness” really? Hopefully this bill will be struck down, if anything because many members of Congress are likely frequent flyers (For when they go home to their districts) and it would certainly not benefit them. Unless of course they give themselves an exception.

  2. The security lane will be changed to read “Senators and Airline Employees Only”.

  3. Can you post a link where it states there is a $100 fee for Pre? As far as I’ve seen that fee doesn’t exist.

  4. Why does the government get involved with such trivial stuff!! Let the free market deal with it.

  5. While this may not be the best embodiment of fairness in security, I do strongly believe that the more exceptions there are to the security theater the peons are put through, the less likely it is that we’ll ever see meaningful reform.

    Aside from paying TSA to get expedited (which is socio-economically discriminatory, not to mention it encourages creation of yet another Big Brother database of personal details), we already have exceptions for senior politicians and airline and airport workers in various categories, and certain exceptions for police and military. And then of course there’s private aviation, the biggest loophole of all to bypass the TSA.

    The more people that are allowed to not have to endure the worst treatment, the worse it will get for the rest.

  6. Doesn’t the Senate have more important things to worry about than this? How about creating jobs, healthcare, the deficit, getting the economy going? And THIS is what they spend their time on????

  7. Though I’m not from Nebraska, I plan on letting Senator Nelson know that I have put on my calendar to donate to Senator Nelson’s challenger when he runs for re-election.

  8. FINALLY…… It’s about time someone tried to stop the class system at airports. The system needs to be fixed and maybe long waits for “important” airline customers is a way to help that along by putting the airlines under more pressure. Fix the broken system and masquerade that we put up with so it’s reasonable for everyone and effective.

  9. While Senator Nelson is on the fairness issue, why not ban airline clubs (“the elite” sips gin and tonic in a relative comfort whilst the “cattle” sits on the floor at the gate because there are way too few seats to accomodate all waiting passengers.) Or make the planes single, “cattle”, class only (plus a lazy-boy seat for Sentaor Nelson up front, of course.) And what’s with the hard pretzels, sometimes, served on board? Isn’t that discriminatory against the people with really bad teeth?
    Seriously, among some real issues facing our aviation security “elite” lanes don’t even register on the radar for most people…

  10. Oh, who cares. Let’s face it, the business and frequent flyer, want nothing more than to be spared having to mix with the great unwashed. The sooner we get rid of all these people and return flying to the elite, the better. Of course, the targets will then be a bit juicier, but that’s a small price to pay. I mean, who needs traveling anyway.

  11. Although I benefit greatly from the shorter lines, there is a point to his argument, especially on a technical standpoint.

    Security is wholly owned by the TSA, aka the government. So why is the government giving preferential treatment to some and not others?

    Is TSA benefitting from it? No, it doesn’t matter to them who they scan, as long as they’re constantly scanning.

    Sounds like it’s an airline perk being run by the government. Perhaps the government should charge for this service of expedited lines. But of course that would be truly unfair, can’t have a free market there of course. So instead it is fair for the airlines to do it.

  12. This sounds like great news to me. When I first heard of this proposed exception it really bothered me.

    If airport security is REALLY about airport security then you shouldn’t be able to simply pay your way past it.

    These exceptions support arguments that the powers that be which authorize them don’t actually believe these security checks have much value.

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