NY Times: scurry past lines at airport security

Wouldn't it be great to have more time to saunter through duty-free shops? The question is would you pay a yearly subscription to skip airport security lines. If there were such a service, many would probably answer 'yes'. Well, such a service may exist very soon.

The New York Times writes about the service once offered by entrepreneur Steven Frill. After the September 11 terrorist attacks, he founded a company to offer a service that allowed its customers to pass through an express security lane at participating airports. 250,000 flyers signed up to receive a biometric card, manufactured by Verified Idendity Pass, Inc., which were accepted at 20 airports.

In a Newsweek column Steven Frill wrote that a private company could solve the problems of security and long lines in airports with a smart identification card. Verified Identity Pass, the New York-based company he created, required people to go through a lengthy enrollment process, give up personal information and have an iris scan and fingerprints recorded. In return, they got to bypass security lines, accompanied by Clear "concierges" who were stationed at airports like Kennedy International.

But last June, somehow the project imploded and its paying customers were left in the dust. The company wasn't able to offer refunds. Yet these people may yet get a break.

Kurtis Fechtmeyer, an investment banker based in Emeryville, Calif., said on Tuesday that his new investment group, Henry Inc., had signed a letter of intent with Morgan Stanley, to buy its assets and reopen the fast-lane security service Clear. Previous customers will be able to rejoin with their memberships intact. "People are still desperate for convenience at security checkpoints, and the government is very interested in having more registered travelers whose identities are verified," he said. "There is still strong demand for this service."

Mr. Fechtmeyer hopes to rekindle the vision of simplifying the pre-flight experience at airports. For up to $199 a year, anyone who passes the rigorous enrollment process can have the luxury of arriving late yet not have to run to catch the flight.

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16 Comments

briangw said,
heh. Let's see if the US Govt. goes along with this. I highly doubt they would without some say so in this process.

Actually the Government DID go a long with it and ran for quite a bit.

eblkheart said,
Actually the Government DID go a long with it and ran for quite a bit.


How long ago? I think now they would have a lot more to say.

briangw said,
How long ago? I think now they would have a lot more to say.

The Clear system went bankrupt several months ago leaving thousands of subscribers to the service in the lurch. And there were no refunds for members. Each subscriber is vetted thoroughly.

On the face of it it doesn't sound like a great plan security wise even with biometric cards, hope it's well thought through!

m.keeley said,
On the face of it it doesn't sound like a great plan security wise even with biometric cards, hope it's well thought through!

You don't get to bypass security, just the lines to it. It's like having premier status and getting to skip the lines while everyone glares at you. Yep, it's pretty sweet.

The security at JFK airport is already shockingly bad.

Every time I've walked through the staff are too busy chatting to eachother to pay attention.

Just two months ago I managed to get through with a drinks bottle and lynx can in my bag that I forgot about and I was never stopped.

lee26 said,
The security at JFK airport is already shockingly bad.

Every time I've walked through the staff are too busy chatting to eachother to pay attention.

Just two months ago I managed to get through with a drinks bottle and lynx can in my bag that I forgot about and I was never stopped.


Hahaha same thing happennd to me...strangely enough we were carrying the same things too =/

Who are you...

Why cant the TSA just employ a few more people? It always looks like they are about 5 guys short at every airport. Its really not a lot of people. And we already are paying a tax for it. I don't get it.

daddy_spank said,
Why cant the TSA just employ a few more people? It always looks like they are about 5 guys short at every airport. Its really not a lot of people. And we already are paying a tax for it. I don't get it.

It's the same reason there are only a few lanes open at the grocery store when they have 20 lanes unmanned. It's incredibly expensive to man them. The extra lanes are mainly there for the holiday rushes.

daddy_spank said,
Why cant the TSA just employ a few more people? It always looks like they are about 5 guys short at every airport. Its really not a lot of people. And we already are paying a tax for it. I don't get it.


Or they could do the better thing and just get rid of the TSA altogether and stop wasting my tax dollars on something purely stupid...

Or as George Carlin would say "to make white people feel safe" lol

Too expensive for the average person, but business users that travel a lot would likely see the benefit. It sounds interesting though.

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