Annoyed by elite passengers with airport security line privileges?

Discussion in 'Travel Security' started by sobore, Apr 3, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/la-na-nn-airport-security-20120403,0,5084375.story
    Bothered by select air travelers who get to move faster through airport security checkpoints?

    Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) is.

    He has introduced legislation that would bar airlines and airports from giving passengers, often first class and elite frequent fliers, preferential treatment on security lines.

    “This bill is about fairness,’’ Nelson said. "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.’’

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/la-na-nn-airport-security-20120403,0,5084375.story
     
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  2. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    Sen. Nelson has nothing better to do? :confused:
     
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  3. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    Apparently not.

    I could see the point if you're actually not screening elite passengers properly, but as long as that's not the case, I don't see what the big deal is.

    But I can understand why people are confused... priority screening is not "expedited screening" from the point of view of the TSA. It's expedited screening because the passenger is (supposedly) knowledgeable about travel and they don't have crazy stuff in their luggage and can keep the line moving.
     
  4. lili
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    lili Gold Member

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    I got yelled at the one and only time (so far) I was directed to the Trusted Traveler screener where you don't have to take off shoes, coat, etc. I was the only one in that area and a few of the hundred or so regular folks were extremely annoyed. Same thing happens sometimes using Global Entry when you finally find the special line leaving baggage claim.

    So is this Senator going to eliminate GE (when he finds out it exists?)
     
  5. kw335
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    kw335 Silver Member

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    I am not sure if politicians/senators/lawmakers get "priority screening", but in all "fairness", I certainly would like to see Senator Nelson wait in a huge line trying to clear TSA with all of the other commoners.
     
  6. RestlessLocationSyndrome
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    RestlessLocationSyndrome Silver Member

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    Clearly, this is a case of where the Senator's friends or family did not travel with the Senator and felt like they were getting shafted by others who get preferential treatment. He clearly feels it is still ok to have preferential treatment for some individuals like pilots and airline/airport staff and of course, I guarantee that he will include himself in that class even though he is a passenger himself...what a hypocrite.
     
  7. Switch2

    Switch2 Silver Member

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  8. bonnerbl
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    bonnerbl Gold Member

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    He has forgotten that airline status does have a correlation to flying experience. Those with status are much more likely to know the security process and be able to move quickly through.
     
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  9. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    I realize it puts me in the minority, but I support this.

    Also, no reason to expect that Ben Nelson (of all people) expects special treatment or would expect to it under this rule. I'm guessing that right now he probably gets whatever other frequent fliers get and is expecting to lose those privileges if this rule were to take effect (which is most unlikely).
     
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  10. AnthonyB1609

    AnthonyB1609 Silver Member

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    Do you have priority access when you fly? I am sure that almost everyone on this thread does. And we can all say that you do not get special TSA screening. The perk is that the line is shorter because we fly often and know how to get in and out of security.
     
  11. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    Sometimes yes and sometimes no (depends whether I make an upgrade on my lowly Silver Medallion). I suspect that Ben Nelson does. My objection to expedited screening is a matter of principle, not because I'm jealous of people who have it. I might equally well suggest (although I don't) that people who enjoy an inappropriate privilege are ipso facto not entitled to judge the appropriateness of that privilege.

    This is not true. Plenty of people with tons of flying experience go through the regular lines, plenty of people without flying experience go through the first class lines (infrequent fliers who fly first class, family members of frequent fliers who are travelling once a year on vacation, relatives travelling without the frequent flier on award tickets.

    If it were really about speeding knowledgeable and frequent fliers on their way, then frequent flier status would be the only factor in deciding who went on each line. In reality, it's not about efficiency but about rewarding people for spending, either on a first class ticket or a lot of tickets through a frequent flier program.

    In point of fact, from anecdotal evidence here, it strikes me that it's exactly the frequent fliers who are likely to hold me up by playing games when the TSA agent asks them to say their name, or whatever.

    If you really feel that more experienced travelers have the right to go first or fastest (which is not in and of itself an obvious statement to me), there are ways in which lines could be divided into faster and slower based on empirical factors such as amount of luggage, whether you have a laptop, whether you have laced shoes, whether you're wearing a belt, etc. This could easily be done by the person who inspects your id — "aisle three sir, aisle two ma'am, you get on the group W bench".

    Alternatively, the undressing areas could be rearranged to make it easier and more natural for people who are ready faster to go through the scanners rather than having to wait for people who need extra time to take out their laptops, remove all the detritus from their pockets, and so on.

    There are plenty of non-class oriented ways to make the lines as efficient as possible. That may or may not make them more efficient for any one particular passenger. But the system we have now is clearly based on a certain class of people receiving access to a preferred service. That's fine when the service in question is a paid commercial service, but when it's a public service (such as airline security) it should be class neutral.
     
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  12. perryplatypus

    perryplatypus Gold Member

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    No he doesn't he probably has extra time while flying in his lobbyists corporate jets and voting for congressional pay increases. Wonder if exit rows seats will be his next target!
     
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  13. ArizonaGuy
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    ArizonaGuy Silver Member

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    I get it. Put everyone back in the general line so when a trusted traveler program is available on a wider scale the government can take in more revenue just as they do with Global Entry and Nexus. Right now all those line jumpers aren't paying additional fees for the privilege!


    Of course then there's the point that an elite traveler spends cumulatively more time at the checkpoint than the infrequent traveler who had to wait in line 20 minutes.

    Oh, and if it's equality we're concerned about, let's make aircrew and airport employees have to wait in line too. Why should they get to jump the line then? The guy working at Starbuck's is earning a paycheck as are the aircrew personnel but so is the business traveler on the way to close a deal. Who signs the paycheck should play no role.

    Idiot senator...
     
  14. autolycus

    autolycus Gold Member

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    There's a big difference with the flight crew: they control the plane and many are allowed to carry guns in the cockpit. It's not equivalent. They're actually receiving a different screening than everyone else. Those with elite status or who are flying first class aren't being subjected to a lower standard, so they're just being allowed to line jump. Sen. Nelson--and apparently Larry and I--don't believe that the government should be providing a different set of screeners just for those who have obtained status with an airline or are flying first class. My personal opinion is that government services should generally be handled equally to all, with exceptions for particular situations that make sense because of the associated policy or practical considerations. Trusted Traveler (and Pre Check specifically) is an excellent idea and should be expanded as quickly as possible. It eliminates the waste of searching people we know aren't a threat. Allowing flight crews to go through a limited screening also makes sense to me. Allowing elites to line jump? Not so much. I paid the same tax as you to fund your screening that day, so I should get the same line as you that day.
     
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  15. Switch2

    Switch2 Silver Member

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    IMO, perhaps either his family member or a dear friend who does not have status got treated less favorably compared to an elite pax, hence a complaint, hence the bill...Laws gets passed "quickly" if the experience is personal to a senator or a close friend family member. Voters screaming out load about any unfairness, never win.
     
  16. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    Well I think the argument on both sides have merit.

    Having frequent flyer security lines only makes sense... the people that travel a lot know what to do. They know what to pack and they have the routine down to a science -- I personally start unlacing my shoes in the car and have my wallet and phone in the laptop bag (laptop out) and know exactly how many bins to take from the pile.

    Having purely elite flyers go through a custom security line because they're flying First or Business seems unfair, but at the end of the day someone somewhere earned that perk, and lounge access, and a nicer seat, and drinks that don't come in a plastic cup. Whether that was them paying extra for the seat or earning/buying status that's another story.
     
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  17. perryplatypus

    perryplatypus Gold Member

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    Could be, but he is also on the appropriations subcommittee on Homeland Security and that controls the monies that goes to TSA.
     
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  18. mikesteg

    mikesteg Silver Member

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    We get priority access due to having 2 toddlers. I guarantee that with 2 toddlers, 2 diaper bags, (sometimes) a CPAP, plus the usual stuff... we aren't speeding up any line anywhere! :rolleyes: Entertainment value... now that's another matter.

    In all seriousness, I have rarely been in a scanner line where there wasn't plenty of time to organize the laptop/wallet etc. There is no time savings in having it all done in advance, at least during daytime hours. Flying out at 6am with a crop of FFs, perhaps the line flows well enough. But at those times most of you are getting the same perks.

    I really don't have an issue with it in any case. A few extra bodies in front of me are no big deal. In fact, I'd probably pay attention to that line and get behind them. It's the moron who can't read the signs or doesn't remember the belt/money clip/roach/whatever in his pocket that really slows the line down.
     
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  19. perryplatypus

    perryplatypus Gold Member

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    At MCO I don't remember seeing an elite lines but they have lines for expert travelers and casual traveler to help speed up the lines
     
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  20. Seacarl
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    Seacarl Gold Member

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    Doesn't Sen. Ben get a free close-in parking space at DCA Reagan National airport, funded by taxpayers? By your measure, should we all get that? Doesn't Sen. Ben get to jump the line or skip screening altogether? Should we get that?

    I travel as much or more than the airline crew. The gov't knows plenty about me every time I travel. I often move through the checkpoint more efficiently than the crew, and I don't feel the need to cut in front of the last five passengers at the screening machine, and then not ready with my things. (For some reason, FAs seem much more likely to do this than pilots, and this is not a statement by sex but by occupation - the pilots are more likely to join the line at the start of the table then right in front of the machine. But I digress.)

    If you want TSA to make security operate timely, then put the airline employees through the same queues as the travelers. If flights are delayed as a result than airlines, airports, and labor will all pressure TSA to fix it. And why do airport employees get to cut in line? So that they can go and have a smoke break? Where's the public policy in that?

    But if the system is to work reasonably for the frequent traveler, you can't have them arrive 3 hours before their flight, no more than the FAs or pilots can, so providing a more predictable screening time for them is reasonable. And the once or twice a year passenger can come 3 hours early for that one trip. It really does make sense.
     
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  21. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    When there are things such as United's "Premier Access," that means money is involved.

    Capitalism has always trumped security. Always has, always will. When the airline lobbyists remind Senator Nelson of that, plus other things that will cause airline revenue to go down, this Bill will go the way of dignity at the checkpoint...a slow and painful death.
     
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  22. RestlessLocationSyndrome
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    RestlessLocationSyndrome Silver Member

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    Clearly, the goal is not to be fair to all people. They provide special treatment for all sorts of segments of the population:
    - Airline pilots and flight attendants
    - Airport employees
    - Disabled passengers
    - Families with small children
    - Military personnel
    - Government officials

    I don't see his bill trying to be fair to all people.... it's clearly about who the Senator feels "deserves" the special treatment. Apparently the millions of business travelers who fly in and out of airports every week to do their job are are less deserving than the airport restaurant and shop employees.
     
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  23. TheTravelAbstract

    TheTravelAbstract Silver Member

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    I think we need more lines! Seperate all of us into unique segments!

    They should create a Family w/kids line as well. Nothing worse than being stuck behind a family when the dad is holding the hand of one kind the mom is struggling to put a stroller on the table and the 2nd kid is running around the outside of the security checkpoint.
     
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  24. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    I thought that was the purpose behind the whole "Black Diamond" setup in some airports. And everywhere I've gone families with small kids get pushed to the front.

    (I wouldn't know from personal experience because all the times we've flown with an infant since last year we were in F :) ).
     
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  25. Seacarl
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    Seacarl Gold Member

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    Does anyone believe that any passengers pick lanes based on those signs? Cute idea but you need a lot of lanes in operation, and pax to divide early before the see line length for that to work. Instead pax just go to the shortest visible line.
     
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