The domestic U.S. Registered Traveler
program has been slow in taking off, but in the past year it has
gained a lot of traction. Seventeen airports have approved
Registered Traveler programs (of those, 14 had lanes up and running
as of press time), and approximately 65,000 to 70,000 travelers
RT memberships current-ly are provided
by Clear (run by Verified Identity Pass), Unisys RT Go (which was
acquired by FLO Corp. and will be integrated into that company’s
offering this quarter) and, to a smaller extent, Vigilant
Solutions’ Preferred Traveler. Cardholders from any program have RT
status and privileges at all participating airports.
Following are some recent developments
that offer incentives and potential for RT numbers to grow.
* The Society of Government Travel
Professionals has partnered with FLO Corp. to give preferred RT
membership pricing to about 550 SGTP members.
* Through an agreement with Hilton,
members of the Hilton HHonors loyalty program can redeem points for
* The Denver Grand Hyatt is now one of
six hotels (including the Denver Hyatt Tech Center; the Grand Hyatt
New York and the Marriott Marquis in New York City; the Hyatt
Regency Atlanta, and the Hyatt Regency San Francisco) with a Clear
enrollment station in the lobby, enabling guests to get the iris
and fingerprint scans necessary to obtain a Clear security
* The Metropolitan Washington Airports
Authority selected Clear to provide RT lanes at Dulles
International and Reagan National airports. The lanes should begin
operation sometime this spring. Clear also received permission to
operate in Oakland airport in Northern California.
Clear charges $100 for the first year
of membership, plus an additional $28 fee to cover the background
security checks conducted by the Transportation Security
Administration. FLO has been selling Unisys memberships for $100
per year and soon will offer $100 and $200 FLO card options. FLO
offers packages that include extras such as worldwide travel
assistance and identity-theft protection. Vigilant Preferred
Traveler memberships cost between $149 and $349, with the higher
price levels including parking and lounge-access benefits.
The government could be doing more to
speed things along, according to National Business Travel
Association officials. In a recent report, the association
criticized the TSA for demonstrating “tepid support” for RT. NBTA
recommends doubling enrollment and adding additional hub airports
over the coming year, and underscores the importance of increasing
support from Congress and the executive branch.
Phoning It In
In another attempt to streamline
travel, Continental Airlines and the TSA announced the Paperless
Boarding Pass pilot program in December 2007. Individual travelers
on nonstop domestic Continental flights from Houston (Terminals B,
C and E) can forgo the paper pass in favor of displaying an
electronic version on a cell phone or PDA.
When checking in, travelers can request
the boarding pass be e-mailed to said device. The resulting
electronic pass displays a barcode, which the traveler shows at
security and when boarding. This system improves the ability to
detect fake boarding passes, according to the airline, in addition
to saving paper.
Continental is the first carrier to
pilot this technology.
JetBlue intensified efforts to woo
business travelers in late January when the carrier introduced
refundable fares. Those who purchase these tickets can make
unlimited changes before departure, including to the passenger
name, with no additional charge. Changes can be made by phone or