Dulles International and Reagan National airports near Washington, D.C., became March 19 the 15th and 16th airports in the country to begin offering the Registered Traveler service to speed prescreened travelers through security checkpoints.
Registered Traveler is sponsored by the Homeland Security Department, airports and several vendors. Enrollees in the program pay an annual fee of $100, undergo a $28 federal security screening and receive a biometric identification card. When traveling at participating airports, they can use special lanes with a promise of faster service.
The two Washington airports officially opened lanes operated by Clear, which is a program of Verified Identity Pass. The company said it has signed up more than 118,000 Registered Traveler participants nationwide since the program began operating in 2005.
Verified Identity Pass operates Registered Traveler lanes at Cincinnati, Denver, Indianapolis and San Francisco airports, as well as New York's LaGuardia, JFK and Newark airports. Enrollees in the Clear program also may use their ID cards at other Registered Traveler airports in which the lanes are operated by Unisys Corp. and other vendors.
Clear has already enrolled 3,500 travelers in the Washington-area airports, according to a news release, and unannounced testing of the Clear lanes at Dulles and Reagan National on March 14 resulted in a rush of more than 3,000 people using the lanes.
"It was like serving food at a new restaurant before its lights were even on or its opening was even announced," Clear Chief Executive Officer Steven Brill said in the release. “We were stunned by the demand but grateful that we were able to speed them through without a hitch.”
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) is a member of Clear. "I appreciate the improvement it has on air travel,” Lofgren said in the news release. “It helps free up my calendar by reducing the time I spend waiting in airport lines."
Registered Traveler also operates at airports in Albany, N.Y.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Little Rock, Ark.; Orlando, Fla.; Reno, Nev.; San Jose, Calif.; and Westchester, N.Y.; and will open soon in Oakland, Calif.