A new article in the online version of Time magazine evokes the ongoing Occupy Wall Street protests by asking the provocative question, “Does the TSA Favor the 1%?
The issue revolves around a current TSA experiment called PreCheck which singles out frequent travelers and is now underway at four U.S. airports: Atlanta, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Detroit and Miami. UPDATE: The TSA will add Las Vegas to the program in December; also, Los Angeles and Minneapolis-St. Paul will come aboard in early 2012. It involves volunteers selected from the ranks of elite members of American and Delta miles programs plus others from government programs such as GlobalEntry, NEXUS and SENTRI.
These passengers give up some personal travel information in exchange for a quicker and presumably more pleasant security experience. These folks may even be able to avoid taking off their shoes.
Air Travel’s One Percent
However, as Time points out, the program seems inadvertently geared to the most affluent among us:
“If frequent fliers, who are very often business professionals, are the main ones to participate in the TSA PreCheck program, then there’s a pretty high likelihood that the 1% are the ones afforded a less stressful screening process.” –Time 11-9-11
It should be noted that there are no guarantees to the PreCheck program. Some will still be randomly selected for the full complement of security screening measures, but it can’t be that bad since overall, since passengers are singing its praises.
But the question remains: will the 99% ever get a shot at this “better” security experience?