Jumping the Security Line

Q. I was in the security line at the airport yesterday and it seemed that some people were able to bypass others in the security line and move right to the front. These people were not airline employees as far as I could tell. If the TSA is a government organization, how do they justify preferential treatment for some classes of passengers?

A. Although the TSA itself is a government agency and they control access to the scanners and the "airside" of the airport, who controls access to the TSA? It's the airlines themselves. The people who check to see that you have a boarding pass and proper ID before you reach TSA are airline employees (contracted out). So the airlines figured out that they can either charge for priority access to the TSA or give it to their first and business class flyers, which is what they're doing.

Image via Shutterstock