Are You a Registered Traveler?

In case you’re not aware, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has developed a Registered Traveler (RT) program to help you speed through security. This isn’t exactly breaking news, but I recently saw a blurb about it in Money Magazine, so I thought I’d investigate.

To enroll, all you have to do is submit to a Security Threat Assessment. Oh, and pay $100/year.

According to the TSA:

Applicants voluntarily provide RT Sponsoring Entities and Service Providers with biographic and biometric data needed for TSA to conduct the STA and determine eligibility. The STA includes checking each applicant’s identity against terrorist-related, law enforcement, and immigration databases that TSA maintains or uses. RT applicants who receive an approved STA result may become program participants.

This program is actually run by private vendors, such as Clear, with oversight from the TSA. Aside from the cost and relatively invasive application procedure, perhaps the biggest downside to the Registered Traveler program is that it’s only available at 14 airports nationwide.

But… If you qualify, and if you’re travelling through a participating airport, here’s what you have to look forward to:

» modified airport configuration to minimize wait times, including dedicated or integrated lines/lanes
» enhanced customer service for participants (divesting assistance, luggage service, parking privileges)
» discounts for service or concessions

So it’s actually more than just an improved experience with airline security. The parking privileges sounds interesting, though I would imagine that it’s just a more convenient lot, as opposed to something like free parking.

If you’re curious as to which airports are currently part of the program, here’s a rundown:

Albany Airport (ALB)
Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG)
Denver International Airport (DIA)
Indianapolis International Airport (IND)
Jacksonville International Airport (JAX)
John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York (JFK)
LaGuardia International Airport, New York (LGA)
Little Rock Airport (LIT)
Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC)
Orlando International Airport (MCO)
Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO)
San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
Westchester County Airport (HPN)

Honestly, even if our nearest airport was covered (which it’s not), I don’t travel often enough for this to be worthwhile.

What do you think? Are you member? Interested in joining?

9 Responses to “Are You a Registered Traveler?”

  1. Anonymous

    Greetings from Colorado! I’m bored to tears at work so I decided to browse your blog on my iphone during lunch break. I enjoy the information you present here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m shocked at how quick your blog loaded on my phone .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, amazing blog!

  2. Anonymous

    They have a similar program for frequent travelers to Canada (at least from Washington to BC). However, despite my frequently flying, I really have not had any significant delays getting through security, so this wouldn’t be the program for me. I’m guessing my lack of trouble with security has to do with my local airport and the times I tend to fly (late at night).

  3. Anonymous

    I am an RT. I love it. If it helps me on 2 or 3 trips a year, it’s well worth not missing my plane. Occasionally I travel during peak times, and it’s saved me more than once. (by making it so I don’t miss my plane that is.)

  4. Anonymous

    With you on this one MW.

    So if you pay a vendor money you can get through quickly and if you do get on the TWA watchlist you can hardly get off or even find out that you’re on it or why. Ugh.

  5. Anonymous

    It has been demonstrated on many occasions that at least journalists and self-destructive college kids can still smuggle weapons on board to prove a point. Clearly further screening has significantly diminishing returns although I suppose some company now has an opportunity to swing a nice profit to fix a problem that was created by the TSA in the first place. Here’s a crazy idea. How about assuming that weapons can be brought aboard no matter how massive the screening and focusing on solving the problems that that would create. Armed air marshalls and reinforced cockpit doors are certainly a step in the right direction in my opinion.

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