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.