A Priority Line at the Airport

March 3rd, 2012

David Post–one of the lost conspirators–is quite angry at SFO, which allows first class passengers to cut the line:

I noticed, as I was waiting in line at the security checkpoint at the San Francisco airport waiting to board a flight back east, that there was a “Priority Line” for “uniformed crewmembers” and “First and Business Class customers.”  Excuse me, but what the f*** is up with that?  I have no problem with the idea that people with greater resources can purchases conveniences in the marketplace (like a First or Business Class ticket).  But the airport security checkpoint is a government service manned by government employees.  Though we all recognize that people with greater resources sometimes/often get higher and better service from the government – the police patrols in the rich part of town tend to be better than those in the poor part of town.  But we regard this as a flaw in the system, not something to be actively promoted.  Government services should be distributed equally to all – it’s an aspirational principle perhaps often honored only in the breach, but to see it so crassly ignored strikes me as an outrage.

Louisville (SDF) has a priority line, but it is open to first class, business class, and passengers who travel more than twice a month. I travel (alas) more than twice a month, so I usually avail myself of the priority line, which is meant to reward people who know what they are doing, and go through security faster. This doesn’t bother me. The sign at SFO (which I have seen at EWR and elsewhere) does tick me off.