To Speed Past Airport Security, Some Fliers Barely Lift a Finger

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

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