Airport travelers may soon breathe a sigh of relief with the expansion Wednesday of “registered traveler lanes” at Reagan National Airport and Washington-Dulles International Airport.
Officials said the start-up of the Registered Traveler program to Reagan and Dulles highlight the program’s value in enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of screening operations and serving the needs of time-pressed travelers.
The new program allows airline passengers to avoid long security lines by gaining access to quick, private security lanes, like those accessed now by flight crews.
Fliers who want to take part in the program pay a fee and pass a background check. Once approved, they’re then given a special biometric card that gives them access to the pre-screened lanes at participating airports.
Registered Traveler is currently operational in 13 locations and has 64,600 active cardholders, said Lauren Wolf, a TSA spokesperson.
“The benefits for the traveler vary from accessing extra security lanes to other services depending on the service provider.” A company called Verified Identity Pass began operating a Registered Traveler program at both Reagan National and Dulles International in mid-March. The program is designed to enhance customer service and improve screening wait times.
Enrollees in the program have access to registered traveler security lanes at all other U.S. airports with similar programs.
They may soon have their own lanes to the airport, by being allowed access to High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes on I-66 or the Beltway, for instance.
“Airport executives look forward to continuing our work with TSA and service providers to make the program even more effective as it grows to additional airports,” said Chip Barclay,president of the Alexandria-based Association of Airport Executives.
Barclay was part of a select group of industry officials invited by then-DOT Secretary Norm Mineta to participate in the Secretary’s Rapid Response Team on Airport Security created following the events of 9/11. Creating an RT program was one of the team’s recommendations, and the concept was later endorsed by the 9/11 Commission.