A new program to help travelers move quickly through airport security won't land at Port Columbus for now.
Airport officials said lines at security are not long enough to justify participating in the Registered Traveler program approved by the federal government.
For an annual fee, travelers pay to have a private company do a background check on them so they can go to the head of the line or through a special line to speed their way through security.
"If we come to understand a benefit to our travelers that they don't experience today, then we certainly want to participate," said David Whitaker, vice president of business development at Port Columbus.
For now, though, the wait at security checkpoints generally is not long, and airport officials are concerned about whether there is room for a dedicated lane, he said.
Also, many airlines already offer a priority system to their frequent flyers similar to Registered Traveler, Whitaker said.
"Those who fly the most under the airline programs are able to present identification and go to the front of the line, much like they can at the ticket counter with first-class check-in," he said.
About 20 airports nationwide have reported interest in the Registered Traveler Program. Whitaker said Port Columbus will keep an eye on how the program evolves.
Jeff Andersen, a Minneapolis resident who estimated that he logs about 75,000 air miles a year, liked the idea of Registered Traveler.
"If I traveled four times a year, that would be one thing," said Andersen, who was waiting for a departure flight at Port Columbus. "But this week, I have been in airports three days. I would be willing to do it, unless they need to take the limb of my first born."
The Registered Traveler program was supposed to have been rolled out earlier this year. But like a flight home for the holidays, it has been delayed.
The Transportation Security Administration, airports and private vendors still are hashing out how the program should work and how much to charge travelers.
Travelers who enroll in the program would have to submit to some sort of background check that might include fingerprinting or retina scans.
"The three key components from the TSA perspective are that it not be subsidized by the federal government, that it not inconvenience nonregistered travelers, and that it not compromise security," said Amy Kudwa, an agency spokeswoman.
The TSA had said it wanted a uniform system that would allow a registered traveler to use the system at "any and all participating airports," Kudwa said.
The cost of participating in the program has not been determined, although the TSA recently lowered its share of the fee to $30 from $100. The rest would be charged by the vendor doing the background check, which the agency estimated could be around $80, for a total annual fee of $110.
Each airport would contract with a private vendor whose program would need the approval of the TSA.
The vendor at the Orlando International Airport, Clear Registered Traveler, has been running a pilot program there for about two years.
Clear also is accepting online registrations for travelers using several other airports, including Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport and the Indianapolis International Airport, according to its Web site, .
Clear said it has signed up about 27,000 members who pay $79.95 plus the TSA fee, which it expects to be closer to $27.
Travelers who fly out of Cincinnati seem interested, according to airport officials there.
"We have gotten positive feedback and we have had people contact us wanting to know when we are going to get it started," said Chad Everett, assistant director of operations. "We look at it as customer service for our folks. If people don't want to use it, they won't use it. But at least we are providing the service."
The heftier charge stunned some TSA advocates.
Private companies will supply TSA with the shoe bins and metal tables at security checkpoints. In exchange, the vendor can place ads inside the plastic bins.
The total annual cost is now estimated at about $110.