Trusted Traveler Programs Grow
The slow-developing program to give expedited passage at airport security to trusted travelers who pay a fee is finally gaining traction, reports USA Today.
More than five years after it was proposed following the 9/11 terrorism, trusted traveler programs are operating at six airports. Five more airports in recent weeks have signed with a private partner to operate the government’s Registered Traveler program.
And at least four others — Washington Dulles, Reagan Washington National, Denver and San Francisco — say they are shopping for partners to run their Registered Traveler programs.
“We’re pleased there are some competitors anticipated in the marketplace,” says Bill Connors, executive director of the National Business Travel Association, Alexandria, Va., which supports the program. “More choice, the better,” he told USA Today.
The Registered Traveler program allows certain airline passengers, for an annual membership fee, to quickly go through a separate airport security lane. Customers must pass a government background check and submit biometric information such as fingerprints or an iris scan to be read by an electronic device at the gate.
The Transportation Security Administration has given five companies at least preliminary approval to manage the program for airports. It requires that the members of one program be allowed to use others’ lanes.
The program at Jacksonville by Vigilant Solutions gives subscribers expedited passage but has yet to use biometric identification at its checkpoint. The company says it is moving in that direction and expects this year to have pre-screening and biometric verification.
Vigilant Solutions, Jacksonville Beach, Fla., a radio frequency technology firm, calls its program the Preferred Traveler Program. For $149 a year, its members can go directly to a speedy check-in lane at Jacksonville that is also used by flight crews.
They cannot yet use their card at other airports that have a Registered Traveler program. But Julie Venditti, Vigilant’s chief technology officer, says that will change once its program gets fully certified by TSA as a Registered Traveler program.
Unisys, a security technology company based in Blue Bell, Pa., targeted May 15 to roll out its Registered Traveler program, RTGo, at its first airport, Reno/Tahoe International. It has pre-enrolled about 100 customers.
FLO, a subsidiary of biometrics technology firm Saflink in Kirkland, Wash., signed its first airport customer, Huntsville, Ala., in March.