Stop the elitism!

Check out this post which takes on the issue of elite security lines. The examples that Pauline gives are totally off base on so many levels, that I won’t even address them.

The whole “elitist” argument isn’t a new one, of course. Check out this post from 2006 by Upgrade: Travel Better, which does a good job of tackling the main issue.

Comments

  1. Well, let me start with admitting that I am hypocritical — I take advantage of elite lines where they exist. But I am not sure that they are fair.

    Let’s take a simple example: two security areas, one for elites, one for non-elites. There are a hundred people in the non-elite line, there is no one in the elite line. Our tax dollars pay for the TSA staffers assigned to both lines. Why should access to the TSA staffers (a publicly funded resource) manning the elite line be restricted to a certain group of people?

    In fact, what would happen if a non-elite just ignored the airline staffer (or contract staffer) checking “elite status” and walked to the TSA checkpoint? Is that a violation of any laws?

  2. Ok, big horrible fellow here. Yes, you are violating a posted a placard at an airport which is a big no-no. Simply put, the airlines pay for the elite lines, they pay for the extra staffers to man such lines.

    Now is it elitest? Who really cares? Screw the average people waiting in the regular line. There is is a good chance that anyone that’s a frequent flier elite pays more in income taxes than the average person in the regular line.

    Just doing some statistics.

    So, if anyone feels guilty about standing in he elite line, I’ll watch you pass through the regular line at ORD as I pass through the elite line. Otherwise, deal with the fact you are more important than the person paying $140 for the one-way from MSY-ORD.

    So, my simple response is who cares about the non-elites. They can wait in line as long as I have my elite line with 3 people in it.

  3. Oliver, if there’s no one in the elite line, the TSA staff member checking IDs in the regular line just starts sending non-elites over to the TSA staff manning the x-ray/metal detector the elite line feeds. Seen it happen many times – they just don’t stand there doing nothing.

    As the “Upgrade: Travel Better” post Lucky links to points out, the airport and airlines control how the lines are structured, not the TSA – the TSA control starts at the point where the TSA staff member checks your ID.

    And as the people checking the IDs and directing you to the right line are employed by the airport (again, not TSA) and are usually contracted from a security firm and therefore part of the airport’s security system, theoretically they can call the airport cops and have you removed from the airport if you deliberately disregard their instructions. (I’ve never seen it happen, which is why I say “theoretically”.)

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