A Proposal Regarding TSA Pre✓: Should There Be Four Types of Lanes?
I have been reading all of the hoopla regarding the latest news pertaining to the supposed elimination of “managed inclusion” of the Pre✓ program operated by the Transportation Security Administration; and it occurred to me that there should perhaps be four types of lanes at security checkpoints at airports in the United States.
In this article, I asked if the Pre✓ program was simply a brilliant marketing campaign where a branch of the federal government of the United States seems to have figured out a way to capitalize on the terror attacks which occurred on Tuesday, September 11, 2001 — but then it occurred to me that perhaps two mutually exclusive issues were being mixed up: the desire for passengers to pass through security checkpoints at airports with as little hassle as possible; and the desire for passengers to bypass the lines altogether…
…so I was thinking of this proposal:
- A lane or two dedicated to those who already paid in advance for the privilege to pass through security checkpoints at airports as quickly as possible
- A lane or two dedicated to those who did not pay in advance but want to bypass long lines who would be willing to pay a one-time fee on the spot for the privilege — similar to the advent of variable toll lanes on highways — and the cost of the fee would depend on the waiting time of the line: a longer waiting time means a higher fee, for example
- The majority of lanes which operate similarly to security procedures prior to September 11, 2001 where no one has to remove their shoes or whip out their “one-quart baggies of liquids” — and there would be no charge to use these lanes
- A lane or two for those who need special assistance; are unfamiliar with passing through security checkpoints at airports; or may require a secondary screening of some sort
Initially, I thought that the Pre✓ program is actually currently being done in reverse, where only numbers 3 and 4 from the list shown above should actually be the normal procedure — but then, why deny those people who believe that bypassing long lines at security checkpoints at airports is well worth the cost; and why not offer everyone a choice?
While the policies and procedures of security checkpoints at airports prior to September 11, 2001 arguably could have been improved and strengthened at no detriment to passengers, the terror attacks which occurred on that day were the result of using box cutters, which were permitted to bring along aboard an airplane at that time. What should have been done was tighten the restriction on implements and devices which could be carried aboard an airplane; but it appeared that everything was overdone “in the name of security.” Remember the armed military personnel stationed at airports once commercial aviation was once again in operation after September 11, 2001?
There are those people who believe that anything and everything should be done in the name of safety, no matter what. I am not one of those people; and I believe that the above proposal — while admittedly not perfect — offers what I believe is a good compromise to all:
- People who want to pay to use exclusive lanes will still have them; and the federal government of the United States will still have a revenue stream
- People who do not want to pay for the privilege of what used to be standard policy and procedure at security checkpoints at airports will not have to do so; and
- Slower lines will be available for those who may be intimidated or unfamiliar with the process or who may potentially need additional screening so as not to delay other passengers and cause long lines
What are your thoughts?