Many of us have spent time dealing with airport security. Even if you're lucky and you land in a short line...it still takes a while to tug off your shoes, remove your coat, stuff your bags through the x-ray machine, and empty your pockets. For business travelers who are always on the go....the process can be exhausting.
Now imagine flashing a special card and zipping through security. Seems too good to be true, but the federal government and select airports around the country, including Reno Tahoe International, are working on just that. Its called the "Registered Traveler Program." The details haven't been ironed out, but here's the basic idea. First the government will check out your background. Then you'd have to submit some form of biometric identification, like a fingerprint. You'd also have to pay a fee...probably around $80. After all that, you'll be able to enter a special security line and move through quickly....they may even let you keep your shoes and jacket on. Frequent fliers we talked didn't hesitate to answer "yes!" when we asked if they'd sign up.
The program has already been tested in five airports across the country. The average maximum wait time was 3 minutes, compared to 31 minutes max for the average traveler.
But there are some concerns about the program. The ACLU says the government will be able to collect far too much personal information. Other critics worry that security may be compromised, if a terrorist fakes their identity. Airport officials say the program will actually enhance security because passengers will submit their biographical and biological information.
The goverment wants to roll the program out on June 20 of next year.