09/18/2012 02:05 pm ET

UK Planning Fast-Track Passport Lanes For Rich Travelers

Plans are being discussed by the UK Border Agency to offer fast-track passport lanes to speed up wait for passengers of "high value" to the airlines or British economy, reports The Guardian.

The measure would extend a class-based priority system already tried out at Heathrow this year. That trial allowed travelers from Australia, Canada, the U.S., New Zealand and other countries who do not need a visa to enter Britain to be fast-tracked.

Brian Moore, head of UK Border Force, said that "such fast-track lanes were already in operation in several countries, and having them at Heathrow would help convey the message that Britain was open for business," according to the Hindustan Times.

In October 2011, the TSA launched its "known traveler" program aimed at speeding up waits at airport security checkpoints, though there was no stated preferential treatment by income.

As of September 2011, more than one million pre-approved international travelers had signed up for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's pre-screening. Those passengers paid just $100 for five years of the privilege of getting through customs without the usual hassles.

In February of this year, the pre-check program expanded to 28 more airports.

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