Several industry organizations have recently begun work on proposals that would significantly change how passengers are screened at airport security checkpoints. Many proposals revolve around a tiered risk system that would divide passengers into three groups – trusted, regular, or risky – and apply varying screening techniques based on the passenger’s risk profile.

  • A tiered risk system is favored because it likely would make the airport screening process more efficient, which has been a major goal of airline industry organizations in the face of increased passenger traffic and increasingly onerous passenger screening requirements.
  • The proposed trusted traveler programs would involve passengers undergoing voluntary background checks so that they may be admitted to a “trusted” security lane the next time they travel. This program might be similar to the existing Global Entry program, which allows travelers to bypass customs lines by submitting fingerprint scans at kiosk stations.
  • The tiered risk system for passenger screening has global and governmental support. The International Civil Aviation Organization, a United Nations body, has acknowledged that it is considering recommending the trusted traveler program to member states.
  • Furthermore, John S. Pistole, head of TSA, recently expressed support for a trusted traveler program in his remarks to the American Bar Association.