Debate Revived over Express Screening for Frequent Fliers

Advocates of the plan say now more than ever, the time is right for a registered traveler program.

One reason many airport managers doubt the programs would attract enrollment is that the TSA insists registered travelers would still be subject to possible "secondary screening" pat-downs by screeners and would still have to remove shoes and take laptop computers out of their cases, unless airports install complex explosive-detecting technology.

Markey said he thinks TSA is making the right call. "Just as I believe all cargo on passenger planes should be screened for explosives -- even if sent by a so-called ' known shipper ' -- I believe all passengers should be screened, even 'registered travelers,' " Markey said.

Logan spokesman Phil Orlandella said that "nobody is talking about" reconsidering offering a registered traveler program at Logan.

Richard Gordon, principal with the Civitas Group, a homeland security strategy and investment firm in Washington, said that whether people conclude the current security situation makes a case for or against registered traveler programs show s that "you can spin this any way you want. But it's a mistake to say waiting line time is the reason to go with an RT program."

Rather, Gordon said program backers should focus on how registered traveler programs can make airports safer, not speedier.

Copyright: The Boston Globe -- 8/15/06

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