We Should Stop Checking IDs as “Security” and Revenue-Based Frequent Flyer Programs Are Cutbacks

News and notes from around the interweb:

  • Virgin Australia could be taken private in 2017

  • Alaska Airlines reminds us that revenue-based mileage earning is about cutting marketing spend, not ‘doing more’ for your best customers.

    “I think it may cost us more to have a mileage-based program than a revenue-based program, but the lost revenue from alienating loyal customers is more than we wanted to take on,” [Managing Director of Loyalty Marketing Ryan] Butz said.

    Don’t forget too that United, Delta, and American didn’t just change how they award miles for flying, they devalued their award charts too. They don’t reward high spenders more, they just reduced the value proposition for those flyers less.

  • Here’s what happens on the airplane before you board your flight

  • Former TSA Administrator Kip Hawley thinks PreCheck passengers should be screened more and required to go through nude-o-scopes, though those are neither necessary nor sufficient for preventing terrorism. Bruce Schneier writes,

    PreCheck tells us that, basically, there are no terrorists. If 1) it’s an easier way through airport security that terrorists will invariably use, and 2) there have been no instances of terrorists using it in the 10+ years it and its predecessors have been in operation, then the inescapable conclusion is that the threat is minimal. Instead of screening PreCheck passengers more, we should screen everybody else less. This is me in 2012: “I think the PreCheck level of airport screening is what everyone should get, and that the no-fly list and the photo ID check add nothing to security.”

  • Take 3 Amtrak trips get 1 free

  • How to use toilets in Japan. In case you were wondering. (HT: Alan H.)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Totally agree with you on security screening and ID. The money wasted and dignity lost with TSA and the current scheme…ridiculous

  2. And then while you are in the TSA PreCheck line…they place non-PreCheckers in the line that hold it up? What’s that all about? Sometimes it’s older travelers and other times its foreigners who clearly have not had the “enhanced background checks required for Pre_Check”….

    I was traveling thru EWR a few weeks ago and at the beginning of the Pre-Check line a TSA agent said it doesn’t matter which line you get into….??

  3. I’m old enough to have lived through the era of hiding under your desk in case of a nuclear attack. Now we know that would have been useless. The millennial’s will someday find the TSA to have been useless too.

  4. Someday millennial’s will decide TSA was useless? Already have – from the moment it started! Terrorists have already won because our way of life has fundamentally been changed. And, more of our tax dollars wasted on yet one more boondoggle government program.

  5. @chuck when I was in first grade we had Duck and Cover drills in the event of a bomb dropping. My friends think I am crazy when I tell them about doing that.

    When I was in high school we would take the telephone white pages and use them to alter our date of birth on our drivers license to get booze because we were under 18. It was the same font. Great security!

    When I was in college one of my class mates was damaged her car and needed to be towed. So we called AAA the guy radioed in and said he was confused. He had a RI AAA card with a vehicle that had NH License plates (we were in Cambridge Mass) and this guy says it was his wife driving it but he is white and she is Indian. They towed it and we saved $50 in tow fees because he thought she was my wife and he bought the story. Great Security there too.

    When traveling just after 9/11 I got randomly stopped and searched at the gate. They made me turn on my camera to look through it to make sure it worked. It was not until I got on the plane that we realized that they missed the laptop in my backpack. Really Great Security.

    My mother in law’s Ipad uses her thumb print as a security check but I can get on a plane with a driver’s license.

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