I wrote this letter to Senator Mark Dayton in 2002 concerning Airline security. Given his crackerjack reputation overall and for constituent services, I suppose it is no surprise that I received no response.
SR-346, Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, District of Columbia 20510Dear Senator Dayton,
I write to you concerning airport security policy. The recently created Transportation Security Administration is (or will soon be) responsible for screening passengers at all major airports. A large portion of their cost is paid by a passenger ticket tax that is uniform for all passengers. Yet airlines (to be specific, United Airlines at Chicago O’Hare as one example), are giving privileged access to those security terminals to “first class”? and other “priority passengers”?. Those passengers paid more for their tickets to get a better seat on the plane, and other benefits from United Airlines. They did not pay to get better security, yet they are getting first dibs on passage through the security line. This is because United Airlines is managing the line approaching security to ensure this (they are not managing the security itself). This strikes me as a loophole and against the spirit of the rules, if not the letter. These privileged passengers are jumping the queue; thereby making other passengers, who paid exactly the same security tax, wait longer. This is worse than allowing people to pay to drive in a toll lane parallel to a free lane – which you opposed on I-394 several years ago. I believe this is unfair, and I thought this policy had been eliminated already. While money and wealth do buy some advantages in our society, everyone should be equal under the law. Police service should not be faster for the rich than the poor. I urge you to investigate this matter and rectify this situation. Lines are capable of managing themselves, as shown throughout the transportation sector, without airline herders giving advantages to some travelers at the expense of others. This is particularly pertinent given the large subsidies the airlines are receiving over the past year.
Please contact me at the above address if you, or your staff, wish to discuss further,
Professor David Levinson