A plea to the TSA: PLEASE have a trusted traveler lane!

by Efficient Traveler on June 13, 2011

I recently blogged that the TSA is looking to add a similar ‘trusted traveler’ program to expedite those of us who are very frequent fliers. I am a member of the Trusted Traveler program for the US Customs and Border patrol, using their Global Entry program to easily enter the country from abroad without having to stand in those long customs and immigration lines, as well as CLEAR.

As some of you know, CLEAR actually shut down operations a few years ago, but has offered members to renew at a few airports. I had renewed the $150 annual fee a few months before they shut down without any refund. I’ve been hesitant to renew until absoultely necessary; and since there are only a few airports using it, I thought it would be a while….until I went through Denver.

The Efficient Traveler knows there is a special line for frequent fliers with status. He has to be aware, however, that airline hubs like Denver often have long ‘elite’ lines….but on a Saturday? Of course not. I entered the elite line in Denver. The line next to me (the agent always goes between the lines left and right) had a family of 6 that didn’t have their boarding passes. So I patiently stood there waiting for my turn. When the agent looked at my ID, he said, “Are you an employee?” To which I replied, “No.” He then said, “You’re in the employee line…THIS line,” pointing to the longer one on my right, “is the Elite line. You should have read the sign!” I noted that I was only going into the line that the lady told me to go in…and said, “But I’m already here, can’t you just let me through?” The young, cocky TSA Agent said, “NO, you have to go to the back of the line and wait like everyone else!”

As I dejectedly walked back up the line behind me of wheelchair bound customers, I saw that in fact, there was as a small sign indicating Non-employees to the right; and that line was as long as the regular line! Now was my chance to use CLEAR, which is open at Denver.

I walked to the CLEAR stand, inserted my card and ‘agreed’ to their new program, put my finger on the screen for fingerprint and immediately went to the XRay without any wait. You dont know how much I wanted to go back to that jerk ‘agent’ and tap him on his back, but we all know how much trouble they will put you in just BECAUSE THEY CAN.

So, I’ve re-upped with CLEAR…and wondering why those TSA jerks wont do something similiar for Efficient Travelers.

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