Is it time for a trusted traveler program to finally take flight?

The U.S. Travel Association is pushing the idea in an advertising campaign that was launched last week. Their hope is to get congress to enact a program enabling frequent fliers to skip the full security screening lines at airports. The idea is for frequent travelers to receive backgrounds checks and be given a pass as a shortcut through security. The Association says this will reduce waits for everyone, as there will be fewer people undergoing full screening searches and scans.

Roger Dow, the president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association said  “A one size fits all approach to security is inefficient. If Congress implements a trusted traveler program, we’ll see more Americans traveling – and that will create more American jobs.”

The Association released a survey at the end of last year, indicating that 8 out of 10 people support a  trusted traveler program. In a summary of the results, the Association said that respondents would take 2 to 3 more trips each year “… if the hassle involved in flying could be reduced without compromising security.” The groups research indicated that those added trips would add up an additional $84.6 billion to travel spending, and account for an additional 888,000 jobs.

As noted by Hugo Martín, in today’s LA Times, there are critics. Martin notes that private security companies have experienced mixed results when doing background checks on frequent travelers in the past, and that some airports don’t want to give up the space to have an express security lane.

The Association has launched a new website, betrustednow.org, where supporters can sign a petition in favor of their Trusted Traveler Program.