JetBlue testing expedited security service

By Kate Rice
JetBlue Airways is testing a new ancillary service called Even More Speed that will enable passengers to pay $10 for the privilege of using expedited security lanes at about 40 airports.

JetBlue, which made Even More Speed part of its Even More Space product in June 2011, has announced that it is now testing it as a standalone ancillary in select markets.

For the most part, expedited security lanes have been available only to elite members of airline loyalty programs; travelers buying first-class, business-class or in some instances full-fare economy tickets; or participants in the Transportation Security Administration’s PreCheck program and the Clear program.

Including expedited security lines in the cost of a premium ticket has long been a standard industry practice. But the birth of ancillaries has given airlines a way to offer this convenience to other passengers for a price.

Frontier Airlines, for example, includes use of Priority Security lanes at nearly 40 airports for passengers who buy its Classic Plus tickets. Southwest Airlines gives its Business Select customers access to Fly By Lanes, which are priority security lanes.

But JetBlue’s test is different from these programs in that it lets travelers buy access to expedited security lanes as a one-off product, which can on certain days and in certain airports avoid a lengthy wait.

JetBlue is careful not to guarantee that the product will save time, although it does state on its website that Even More Speed is designed to provide the quickest possible lane to get through security.

The Even More Speed experience varies from airport to airport. At Chicago O’Hare, Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Newark and New York Kennedy, signage for Even More Speed tells travelers where to go for expedited checks.

At other airports, Even More Speed customers use priority, premium or business- and first-class lanes.

There is a difference between priority security lanes and TSA’s PreCheck, a trusted-traveler program in which flyers go through a vetting process before joining.

Once vetted, they not only gain access to expedited security lines but also speed through the security process itself. Unless selected for random checks, they don’t have to remove their shoes or overcoats or take their computers out of their cases.

Travelers qualify for PreCheck either through their frequent-flyer program or because they are members of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Global Entry program, whose members pass through customs simply by using a kiosk, thus bypassing the line waiting to be cleared by a customs officer.

Members of Nexus and Sentri, established programs for crossing land borders between the U.S. and Mexico and land borders and airports with Nexus kiosks between the U.S. and Canada, also qualify for PreCheck.

Clear, a private biometric-based airport security program, also offers members use of expedited security lanes at several airports. Unlike PreCheck participants, Clear members go through the same security machines that all other passengers use.

Follow Kate Rice on Twitter @krtravelweekly.
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