Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Will Air Travel Become Easier With A ‘Verified Identity Pass’?

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (Wireless Flash - FlashNews) – It sounds like a joke, but if you can prove you’re not a terrorist, you might be able to speed through airport security lines using something called a Verified Identity Pass.

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration is now organizing a program allowing travelers to undergo a background check, take a biometrics exam – i.e. fingerprint submission – and pay an annual fee of $80 in order to bypass long lines and possibly skip pat-downs.

Sound too good to be true? Bob Jones, a spokesman for OneTravel.com, thinks it is, saying, “This isn’t a carte blanche. [Travelers] can still be singled out for screening.”

A fingerprint reader will verify passengers’ identities, but Jones says that people will still have to wait in some sort of line and go through the “puffer” – a walkthrough machine that blows air on you for about 15 seconds to detect traces of explosives.

Jones thinks the pass might benefit “the guy that travels every day” or smokers who need to go in and out of the airport, but admits, “I do 120,000 miles a year and I probably won’t do it.”

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