No More Elite and First Class Airport Security Lanes?

Legislation is being considered that would end the perk first class and airline elite passengers enjoy today — preferred security lines at airports nationwide.

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Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) claims that since all passengers pay the same fee in their airfare to cover the cost of screening by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), everyone should be treated the same.

"This bill is about fairness," Nelson told a Los Angeles Times reporter. "Regardless of whether or not 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."

The Air Passenger Fairness Act he's proposing wouldn't, however, put the brakes on the TSA's PreCheck pilot program currently underway at many airports in the U.S. Under the program, gackground-checked passengers use dedicated lanes allowing them to leave their shoes, belts and jackets on, as well as leave laptops in their carry-on cases.

Henry Harteveldt, co-founder of Atmosphere Research Group, an airline and travel industry research company, thinks the idea won't fly. He says the bill would, "penalize people who help keep the airlines in business." He further adds, "If airport security becomes slower, business people will travel less. It will harm the entire air transport industry."

I couldn't agree with Harteveldt more and when I first read about this bill, I nearly fell off my chair. Besides the fact that many airlines generate millions of dollars annually in selling access to "the fast lane," it's a perk that I feel is deserving to bestow on true road warriors.

Those of us with priority access today would be behind travelers who perhaps fly once a year and don't have an efficient routine down when approaching the security belt. Even with opening the now-dedicated lanes to everyone should this bill pass, I predict the amount of passengers processed through checkpoints each hour would decrease, making for longer lines.

I honestly don't think this bill has any chance of moving forward, but it has been referred to the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee for consideration.

Tell us what you think?