Airport’s New White Collar Lane


(Photo: CNN.com)

The Registered Traveler Program began today at the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. This is the airport’s new security lane. You can pass through to your gate in as little as a minute for $100 a year, a background check and scans of your fingerprints and eyes.

The name sounded problematic to me from the start. I don’t know which pisses me off more — the voluntary surrender of so much personal information or the idea of two classes of security service, one for the poor and another for the rich.

Your new “Clear Card” will fit nicely in your wallet, between your country club and GOP membership cards. Sure, you can argue that the price could be more, but there are people who can’t afford this.

Also, there’s the principle of the thing. Should airport security really be a tiered service? Shouldn’t all citizens have equal treatment under the law? That is what we’re talking about — this is a police and ultimately a national security matter. It’s not like first-class seats on a plane.

Maybe I’m reaching and, bleeding-heart lib that I am, maybe I want to be appalled. What do you think?

— Steve Carter-Novotni

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4 Comments on “Airport’s New White Collar Lane”

  1. Brian Reynolds Says:

    Nope, you’re entirely right. In all the discussions I’ve heard about this, I had no idea they were going to charge a FEE for it. I thought all you had to give up was some of your personal information and consent to a background check, etc. I wonder how well it’s going to take off with a $100 price tag. For traveling once or twice a year, I don’t think it’s worth it.

  2. Not the Mamma Cass! Says:

    “I don’t know which pisses me off more — the voluntary surrender of so much personal information or the idea of two classes of security service, one for the poor and another for the rich.

    Also, there’s the principle of the thing. Should airport security really be a tiered service? Shouldn’t all citizens have equal treatment under the law?”

    Steve- you’re admittedly a nice guy, but please shut the fuck up. There’s no Constitutional right to fly. If I want to pay extra to fly first class, why can’t I pay extra to not stand in line behind people who maybe fly once a year and don’t know what the fuck they’re doing in security and cause interminable and excruciatingly frustrating delays with their ignorance?

    Grow up. Fast. Please. Before you turn into Flannery. Or KY Wilson. Gawd.


  3. “why can’t I pay extra to not stand in line behind people who maybe fly once a year and don’t know what the fuck they’re doing in security and cause interminable and excruciatingly frustrating delays with their ignorance?”

    Funny — I flew a number of times last year, and the big security holdups weren’t people who didn’t know what the fuck they were doing, but rather, arrogant businessmen who insisted on not playing by the rules, not wanting to take out their laptops, etc. Because they’re apparently more, you know, important and safe than us dregs.

  4. Wilde Oscar Says:

    The Airline and travel Industry already recognizes and understands there are two tiers of traveler…. Business and Tourist. For many, many years I would log hundreds of thousands of miles on Delta, usually reaching Platinum by May of the year (translation, a lot of flying). There were two tiers of security pre 9/11 and not long again post. Delta Elite flyers went to the front of the security line, it was just not as noticeable as this system.

    To that end, you may have noticed that the airlines are feeling a bit of a pinch. Because the added security, and sudden changes, and arbitrary changes of rules have forced many business travelers to use video conferencing and just not fly. The inconvenience is just not worth it. And these are the people you want flying, you want them flying often… because full fare business class tickets subsidize your $89 flight to Orlando. If every seat on the plane sold for $89 the airlines would be broke. But business fares (fully changeable and refundable, usually purchased less then one week prior to date of travel) off set the money they are loosing on tourists that book 9 months ago and used a coupon. So that’s $89 bucks you spend vs. the $600 that a business flyer spends, on the same seat.

    So for a $100 fee the business traveler gets though security faster? So What! You spend 4 nights a week away from home, deal with weather and travel delays, have every story you tell start out with “so I was in a hotel, I don’t remember where” etc. Business travel is not fun. But if you want your $89 ticket to Florida, you better kiss the business travelers ass.

    PS… One of the things that everyone is missing about the program, is that you have to be a frequent business traveler to sign up. Even if you have the bucks, if you only fly twice a year, you don’t qualify for the program.


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