How Much Would You Pay to Avoid TSA?

This was the question that the students in the MS Marketing Analytics program at Bentley University recently asked 475 flyers. I was surprised at how low the costs were that flyers were willing to pay:

  • $3.31 to skip the metal detector
  • $4.65 to avoid the full body scan
  • $5.26 to forego an enhanced pat down

To avoid all three: $13.22.

For some reason, I thought they would be willing to pay more. For over 10 years, I was Platinum with Northwest/Delta, flying an average of 80,000 miles/year and at least 60 segments each year. For frequent flyers like myself, for 60 segements, this would equate to a total cost of $793.20/per annum. Would I pay $800/year to avoid the TSA lines altogether? Yep. You betcha. No problem. No worries. True that. Sign me up. I’m in. I got a dog in that race.

It won’t happen, of course. But if they tied this to their trusted travelers program (TSA Pre-Check), which I’ve already joined, they’d have a way to make a lot more money and keep airline travel as safe as it is today. They already have my fingerprints and have run a background check on me. They could add knowledge based questions – I’m good with that too. Scan my bag if you’d like, but let me bypass the lines. I HATE the full body scans – it’s a violation of my 4th Amendment rights and it’s invasive of my privacy. I don’t like the metal detector either.

This won’t ever happen, I understand. But the idea of paying to avoid the lines is appealing to a frequent flyer like myself.

Bill English, CEO
Bible and Business