Many business travelers are willing to be fingerprinted and submit other information about themselves to the federal government if it means speeding up the airport security process, according to a survey released yesterday by the Business Travel Coalition of Radnor.
The online survey, initially sent to about 2,000 members of the advocacy group, found that 77 percent of the 651 who responded would support a "registered traveler" program, if it meant shorter waits and more consistent security checks from one airport to another.
About two-thirds of those answering identified themselves as frequent business travelers, with the rest corporate travel managers or people who both manage programs and travel themselves.
The federal Transportation Security Administration, which runs airport security, has been conducting a test for the last year of a registered-traveler program at airports in Boston, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Washington. To participate, volunteers provided personal data on themselves, including fingerprints and a scan of their eyes, and received a card allowing them to go to a special waiting line; the participants still have to pass through a metal detector and have bags X-rayed.
Next month, Orlando International Airport in Florida plans to start a pilot program of its own, collecting similar information on travelers who volunteer, a TSA spokeswoman said.
In the Business Travel Coalition survey, equal numbers of travelers said they were most frustrated by long lines and inconsistent policies among TSA officials at different airports. Smaller numbers said they were troubled by having to remove their shoes or take laptop computers out of their cases.
"Take off your shoes, don't take off your shoes," one of the survey participants said when asked to add comments. "Show your passport inside the gate, don't show your passport inside the gate. Remove belt, don't remove belt. Turn cell phone on, keep cell phone off. Make up your minds."
Most of the corporate travel managers said they believed their companies would pay a fee for their employees to become registered travelers.
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A nationwide program - if it becomes optional - has strong support from organizations representing airline passengers.
The TSA's PreCheck program gives select fliers the ability to go through a faster security line, with fewer requirements.