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"Registered Traveler: Enrollment lags for air pre-screening"
Saturday, January 5, 2008
Enrollment lags for air pre-screening
By Thomas Frank
WASHINGTON - A program designed to speed pre-screened airline passengers
through security lines has proven less popular than anticipated in its first
year, Transportation Security Administration figures show.
The 13 airports with a Registered Traveler program have 65,000 participants
combined, says the TSA, which oversees the program. That's about half the
126,000 projected for the first year by Verified Identity Pass, a New York
City firm hired by 11 of the airports to manage the program.
"We were hoping to have more," Indianapolis International Airport security
director Reggie Baumgardner said. The airport was the second to open
exclusive lines this past January but has enrolled only 5,600 people,
Baumgardner and others are optimistic about Registered Traveler, which was
conceived by Congress shortly after 9/11 as a way to ease airport security
bottlenecks. Enrollees pay a $100-$150 annual fee and pass a background
check. They must pass through the same security checkpoints as other
passengers, but they have their own line leading to the metal detectors and
Among recent developments:
. Denver International Airport, the nation's fifth busiest, has hired
Verified and will start Registered Traveler this month, company CEO Steven
. Dulles and Reagan National airports near Washington, D.C., plan to launch
the program this year, said James Bennett, CEO of the Metropolitan
Washington Airports Authority.
. Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the world's busiest,
may start Registered Traveler and is reviewing bids from Verified and
another management company, FLO Corp., said airport spokesman Herschel
"We feel very good about our numbers based on what's happening right now,"
Brill said. He blamed the slow start on technical problems that led to
delays in getting ID cards to new enrollees.
Luke Thomas, FLO's executive vice president, said advocates such as Brill
made overly bold projections of how quickly the program would grow.
Airport consultant Michael Boyd said few passengers are signing up because
security lines are generally short and many frequent flyers already belong
to airline clubs that have reserved security lines. "It really isn't a
benefit to anybody at most airports," Boyd said.
Major U.S. airlines have opposed Registered Traveler, slowing the program's
growth, said David Castelveter of the Air Transport Association, an airline
The addition of Dulles and Reagan National could encourage other airports to
start Registered Traveler lines, said Bennett, the Washington airport CEO.
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