This is not a belated April Fools. Senator Ben Nelson from Nebraska introduced legislation that would remove preferred security lines from U.S. airports. Citing them as having nothing to do with safety (doesn’t he realize the pun there?), he feels that since all passengers pay the same “security” fee in their tickets, everyone should be treated the same.
The bill he’s proposing only restricts airlines and airports from establishing this elite and first class perk I, and probably everyone I know, would sorely miss, but would allow the TSA to operate dedicated fast-track PreCheck screening already seen at today’s airports.
While PreCheck has been expanding, it’s not everywhere and I have yet to experience it as a United elite mainly flying out of LAX. I received my invite to the program from American when it first started, but I’ve since refocused my flying with United to hit the million-miler mark this year. United is probably too busy with the merger and prolonged SHARES transition issues to offer its elites access and coordinate with the airports to dedicate security lanes.
I think Henry Harteveldt put it best when he told a Times reporter that such a measure would, “penalize people who help keep the airlines in business.” He continued, “If airport security becomes slower, business people will travel less. It will harm the entire air transport industry.”
I certainly don’t keep United in business with my mostly bottom-feeder fares, but I’d be outraged if Premier Access went away and I hadn’t yet gotten into PreCheck or Global Entry.
Also, the ancillary revenue airlines would lose by not being able to sell access to elite lines would probably top their legislative agenda if this bill gets traction. I don’t think it’s going to happen.
The bill has been referred to a Senate committee for consideration.
What do you think?