AirTalk for April 4, 2012

Should elite passengers not get preferential treatment in airport security lines?

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Travelers wait in line to have their boarding passes checked at a security screening area of American Airlines terminal at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

Should paying first class include elite treatment on airport security lines? That’s the question Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) answered a big resounding "no" to with his recently introduced Air Passenger Fairness Act.

The legislation proposes promoting fairness for all air travel passengers by barring airlines and airports from using express security lines to allow certain groups of passengers, mainly first class and elite frequent fliers, to jettison to the front of Transportation Security Administration security screening lines at airports.

Nelson says the point of an airport security line is to ensure traveler safety, regardless of ticket status, and that priority treatment is unfair to those who pay less for their flights, yet wait patiently in long lines. The bill would allow the TSA to operate fast-track screening programs, including the newly implemented PreCheck pilot program that lets travelers pre-approved through a background check speed through the screening process.

Critics of Nelson’s bill say the measure would penalize high-paying and frequent fliers who keep the airline industry in business, and that equal-for-all airport security lines would just discourage those elite passengers from flying.

Are you tired of priority passengers getting special airport security line privileges? Or, if you fly business or first class, do you expect perks given what you’re paying, including moving faster through security checkpoints?

Guest:

Charlie Leocha, director of the Consumer Travel Alliance, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization trying to help improve consumer understanding of travel.


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