Plan to speed airport screening criticized by travel groups

The U.S. Travel Assistant’s plan to speed up the airports screening process has been harshly criticized by airlines and security firms. The plan was released by the U.S. largest travel promotion group, after a yearlong study conducted by security experts such as former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and former Rep. Jim Turner.

The plan, which includes both new ideas and old ones that have been tested without any real success is considered by the vice president of the travel, Geoff Freeman, association a “win-win for everyone.”

A key component of the plan is the call to create a voluntary “trusted traveler” program that allows passengers who have provided personal information to get pre-approval for bypassing long security lines. However, this is not a new idea. The Transportation Security Administration has tried this before, in 2004, but the plan failed due to financial difficulties.

An Alclear spokesman took a stand against the idea of bringing the government back into airport screening.

“The government doesn’t have to run the program but should absolutely regulate it,” said Gareth Edmondson-Jones, chief brand officer for Alclear.

The free checking of one bag is another key component of the association’s plan. This will supposedly speed up the screening process by allowing passenger to not stuff all their belongings into 1 carry-on luggage. This idea was rejected by the TSA who argued the government should not have a say in this matters.

The proposal, the group said, “diminishes customer choice and competitive differentiation among carriers.”

With many airlines, especially low-cost ones, charging for each checked-in piece of luggage in an attempt to keep their fares low, the measure would definitely impact their business model.

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