The Bear Growls: McCarran Airport management stupidity

McCarran Aiport

In a stupid decision, McCarran officials refuse to give the airport’s best customers the ability to pay for a line pass for TSA screening. This is especially galling in a city where line passes are routinely given out as perks to “good customers.” Here, the airport officials making this decision apparently failed to take into consideration that the people most likely to pay for Registered Traveler privileges are the ones who fly the most and likely generate the most ancillary revenue for the airport, as well as supporting the airlines that pay for the airport.

The airport could work with TSA,  casinos and the two card vendors in a promo or comp program for “good casino customers.”  The airport could negotiate a fee to be paid to it by either  the casino or the card vendor, or both, for each comp issued.  This is another potential revenue source, small but steady,  for the airport that is apparently being ignored by those who could make it happen.  Shame on McCarran Airport management.

Original email:

Are there plans to set up express TSA lanes at McCarran for RT Go and the other “registered traveler” programs? If so, when? If not, why not?


Thank you for contacting McCarran International Airport. We have received many inquiries regarding a registered traveler program, such as the RT Go program you’ve cited, and our airport’s director has provided this explanation of our decision — after thorough consideration –not to participate in such a program in its current form:

McCarran does not intend to apply for the “Registered Traveler Program” at this time. Initially the program was called the “Trusted Traveler Program”. When this was the concept, we were very interested in the program. As envisioned, the “Trusted Traveler Program” was one where, in exchange for giving up personal information to the government, a traveler would be subjected to a less rigorous screening process. By using fewer resources on the trusted travelers, more resources would be available to process all other passengers. This would be a win/win for everyone.

As currently implemented, the “Registered Traveler Program” provides little or no resource savings. In fact it can be a resource drain, depending on the configuration of the checkpoint queuing area. From our perspective, the current program is no more than a ‘pay to cut to the front of the line’ program. We do not favor a program which provides an advantage to some at the expense of all the other passengers.

If in the future the “Registered Traveler Program” provides an overall benefit to all of our passengers, we will take another look at the program.

Rest assured we are doing everything we can do to provide an efficient security process for our customers. Since the events of 9/11 we have expanded the number of checkpoint lanes at McCarran from 12 to 46 with the recent addition of 12 lanes at the new C Gate Checkpoint. Our biggest challenge is getting the Federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to provide enough staffing for the available lanes. Even though our passenger level has grown by over 25 percent in the past three years, the TSA has not provided any significant increase in its authorized staffing.

Thanks again for your interest in McCarran. I hope this information is helpful to you, and please let me know if I can be of further assistance.


Joanie Ceriotti
McCarran International Airport

Response to response:

I do not understand why the airport would object to a ’pay to cut to the front of the line’ program when virtually anyone except those with criminal backgrounds can pay for the same privilege if they so choose. The airlines successfully use similar programs — for example, Southwest’s “A List.” These programs are popular with the airlines’ best customers — those who fly the most and therefore use the airport the most. These same frequent airport users are the most likely to pay for Registered Traveler privileges. They are also the ones who most frequently patronize the airport’s parking lots and concessionaires, therefore generating more revenue for the airport. I think it is a mistake to refuse them the benefit that more and more airports around the country are now offering. It makes McCarran seem second-rate and less than “user friendly” when even a small airport like Reno-Tahoe has Registered Traveler capability.

I hope you will forward my comments to the individuals responsible for what I think is a poorly thought out and irresponsible decision. Thank you for your time.


rtGO website:

Clear Card website:


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