Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Good Riddance to "Clear"

The "Clear" registered traveler program went broke and is no more, and that is a good thing. Not only is was it unprofitable, it set a terrible precedent for paying for security.

With paid screening programs like this, the incentive is for the alternative to get worse and worse. I am sure it bothered them to no end when the TSA added new lanes or opened up the existing ones at peak times.

Fortunately, their fatal flaw was that they really didn't do anything but allow you to cut in line. Passengers were subjected to the same security, just possibly with slightly less waiting beforehand.

Actually, the precedent was set a long time ago when they established separate lines for elite members of airline's frequent flier clubs. Of course, membership in these "elite" programs can be obtained through some credit cards without even stepping on a plane. In other instances, a promotion offers the opportunity to take one or two flights that will give you status. So much for the idea of a "frequent flier". And really, how the heck does a private company give you some card that determines your access to a federal security screening? Why can't I use my Blockbuster or Starbucks card?

Ultimately, less ability to bypass security will make the problems of the TSA more noticeable to some of the country's most frequent fliers, our members of Congress.

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