Significant majorities of frequent business and leisure travelers would pay up to $150 to enroll in a trusted traveler program, a new survey by the U.S. Travel Association says. U.S. Travel recently recommended that a trusted traveler program be put in place for domestic air travelers, and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is currently considering options for such a program.
The survey, commissioned by the U.S. Travel Association, asked more than 1,000 adults how likely they were to enroll in a trusted traveler program that offered expedited, risk-based screening at major U.S. airports for U.S. citizens who pay an annual enrollment fee of between $100-150 and undergo a background check.
Forty-five percent of all travelers were very/somewhat likely to enroll, 61 percent of frequent leisure travelers were very/somewhat likely to enroll, and 75 percent of frequent business travelers were very/somewhat likely to enroll.
“Travelers deserve a trusted traveler program that provides predictable wait times at airports and a screening process that recognizes their low-risk nature,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. “We now know that frequent travelers are willing to pay for a better security experience. TSA Administrator Pistole is right to pursue a new approach and we look forward to working with him to develop the details.”
A December 2010 study showed respondents would take two to three more trips per year if the hassle involved in flying could be reduced without compromising security. Those additional trips would add $84.6 billion in travel spending and support 888,000 additional jobs, according to research from the U.S. Travel Association.
The U.S. Travel Association recommends a risk-based trusted traveler program where travelers can opt-in and voluntarily provide background information to qualify for expedited screening, similar to trusted traveler programs operated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. In recent months, the idea of a trusted traveler program has gained momentum in Congress, and TSA has publicly stated it is considering concepts for such a program.