Monday, March 24, 2008
Fast-pass security lanes officially opened at Reagan National and Dulles airports Wednesday for travelers with special clearance.
Here's how it works: Fliers undergo a Transportation Security Administration background check and have personal data, plus iris and fingerprint scans, put on a card. Although the fliers still have to remove their shoes and get carry-ons X-rayed, at certain airports the cards let them skip the lines that everyone else endures.
As of Wednesday, 3,500 Washington area travelers had signed up for a Clear card, which costs $128 a year.
Some of the region's fliers got a sneak peek at the special security lane. Three hundred people used the checkpoint on its first day of testing about a week earlier.
"We've had more interest here than anywhere else," said Steven Brill, the chief executive of New York-based Verified Identity Pass, which runs the Clear program.
James A. Gondles Jr., executive director of the American Correctional Association, flies regularly and registered for a Clear card last week at National. Does giving out all that data make him nervous?
"I'm one of the few American citizens who trusts his government," Gondles said.
-- Kendra Marr