A travel trade group is urging the use of alternative...

A travel trade group is urging the use of alternative screening methods for frequent fliers to speed lines for full-body scans, like this one being demonstrated by the Transportation Security Administration. Credit: MCT, 2010

The nation's largest travel trade group has launched a campaign to pressure Congress to adopt an alternative passenger screening program so that business travelers and other frequent fliers can zip through airports faster.

The U.S. Travel Association is promoting the idea of letting frequent travelers submit to background checks so they can speed through specially designated airport lines operated by the Transportation Security Administration. That is intended to shorten the lines for everyone else who has to go through the extensive pat-down searches and full-body scans.

Association president Roger Dow said the current screening system doesn't work because it assumes all travelers pose the same threat. "A one-size-fits-all approach to security is inefficient," he said.

The "trusted traveler" idea is not new and has critics. In the past, private security companies had mixed results performing background checks for frequent travelers. Some firms couldn't register enough paying customers to survive.

To press Congress to back the idea, the travel association is running advertisements in national media and has launched a website, betrustednow.org, that asks supporters to sign an online petition.

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