Finally, A Justification for Registered Traveler?

At the beginning of the year, there was a lot of noise about rolling out a Registered Traveler program — where, in exchange for a $100 fee and a more detailed background check, a (presumably frequent) traveler would gain the ability to pass more quickly through the TSA security screening. However, the program died from lack of interest because the TSA never said what parts of the screening experience a Registered Traveler could avoid. Indeed, the preliminary indications coming out of the TSA were that a Registered Traveler would be subject to the same screening as everyone else. Then what do I get for my $100 and hassle of a background check? No one could answer, and so the program withered away.

Now, however, I wonder if a way out of the problems with the current carry-on restrictions is a Registered Traveler program. This time, though, the value proposition would be relaxed carry-on restrictions. In exchange for $100 and voluntarily giving up my privacy, I get to carry on 3-4 travel-sized toiletries — small tubes of toothpaste, hair gel, skin creme — and a cup of coffee. With the growing frustration of frequent travelers, I think this idea has legs.

Tags: TSA, Security, Airport, Registered Traveler, Carry-On Luggage, Toiletries

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5 Comments.

  1. Kinda makes me sad that you now have to pay $100 to get the ability to do things you did for free last week.

    Still, it does (as you rightly say) give some purpose to an otherwise unneccessary scheme. From what you wrote, it sounds like the original potential of the scheme would have really benefitted those who needed this advantage (eg; you)

  2. One thing I forgot to add, why did the TSA not go along with this seeing that the people cleared through this were veted and did not pose a threat. I guess it’s just an example of how the archane system that the TSA implements runs.

  3. Mark, with all the recent problems lately (seven yesterday; Aug 25). I’m not looking forward to my flight back to Portland, OR from Cinncinnatti today. I would gladly pay the $100 if it meant being able to carry on small amouonts of toothpaste, etc but my worry is if the TSA could understand and enforce two different screening procedures. THey can’t even get one standard procedure at all airports.

    The bigger problem is if you happen to get on a flight with some idiot passenger who decides to become unruly or even worse, someone who brings a half stick of dynamite on the plane!! You end up geting caught up in the situation and wasting a bunch of time due to some else.

  4. Your comment on 43 about the service and environment on british airways and the picnic environment on our domestics resonated with me for a while, then it hit me. A new marketing angle for our domestics.

    Still paying $7 for a burger fries and cola? not sure you can take it on the plane? well, xyz airways is proud to announce “new” food service on all flights of X duration or longer. now you can get gourmet meals on board for what it costs you for that boring terminal sandwich.

    midwest airlines is the only airline i’m aware of that serves meals for money (not to be confused with the “snack” boxes), but they only serve sandwiches and they only advertise in the airport. if the airlines can make it appear as a viable alternative to the crappy terminal fare, then they should be able to make money off of it. and the intangible effect is a sense of “service” reminiscent of the good ole days of yore when flights had a certain “restaurant in the air” feel to them.

    And the late night guys can start making jokes about airplane food again. good times, good times.

  5. Looks like my thinking is in line with the “powers that be” at Homeland Security (there’s a scary thought). Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff came out in favor of Registered Traveler in an interview published in today’s USAToday.