Elite Security Lines Bug Some but Not Others

VIP security lines may violate the egalitarian sensibilities of some Americans, but they've become a permanent fixture of post-9/11 air travel.

For its part, TSA wants no part of the debate over VIP security lines.

It simply screens travelers in the order the airlines present them, TSA says.

"That real estate in front of the checkpoint is owned by the airlines," says spokeswoman Amy Von Walter. "Our obligation is to do the screening efficiently and to keep the wait times to a minimum."

At DFW, travelers in the regular lines mostly seemed comfortable with, or at least resigned to, the existence of VIP security lines.

"It doesn't bother me," said Mike Okoli, a businessman from Plano, Texas, as he got into the regular security line at DFW. "If I was in a rush, maybe. But I guess you get what you pay for."

Greg Smith of Redding, Calif., who was flying home from Texas with his daughter and father, said he usually doesn't let standing in the longer security lines for non-elite travelers bother him. But when he's running out of time, sometimes it does.

But Smith thinks he has a better idea of how to organize the checkpoint lines: "If they just had different lines for people based on how soon their flight is leaving, it would work so much smoother."

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