By NAFEESA SYEED | Associated Press, 7/29/08
WASHINGTON (AP) — FLO Corp. is partnering with the Washington Redskins to offer a card that promises to cut wait times in stadium and airport security lines.
The Chantilly, Va.-based company announced Tuesday it signed a three-year deal with the football team. For $100 a year, customers can register for the new card that will let them enter fast lanes at FedEx Field and airports in the federal registered traveler program.
FLO officials say they already have more than 5,000 members who use the cards at 19 airports, including Reagan National and Dulles International. Those who apply must go through a federal background check.
The new card features the Redskins logo and an image of a football and spells out FLO — “fast lane option.” The company says the stadium will have separate lines for those who have the card, cutting wait times, though they will still have to go through a security pat-down.
Luke Thomas, executive vice president of FLO, said members are already entitled to several benefits, such as hotel discounts. Extending those perks to include a sports team made sense, because research shows many fans are also frequent travelers, he said.
The startup became public in January and acquired Unisys Corp.’s registered traveler division in May, when it began selling the cards. Those who already have cards will be eligible for the Redskins perk at no additional charge.
The company’s latest move comes at a time when the Transportation Security Administration, which oversees the registered traveler program, is allowing the industry to expand. The agency began pilot programs in 2004, and announced last week that it’s raising the cap beyond the 20 airports that can now participate.
The TSA says there are about 135,000 active card holders, who are members of three providers — FLO, Vigilant Solutions and Verified Identity Pass, which runs the Clear program.
Currently, Clear has contracts with most of the airports in the program, but cardholders from the other companies are allowed the use their services. The federal government is giving the firms another year to negotiate a reciprocal agreement that will require compensation for using each other’s kiosks.
Steven Brill, chief executive officer of Clear, said that as the industry grows, companies will continue to look for ways to add to their cardholder benefits program.
“We’ve been talking to several sports arenas around the country where we have airports,” Brill said. “I’d be surprised if we didn’t announce something in the next few weeks.”
Thomas believes FLO’s is the first significant partnership with a sports stadium or arena in the registered travel card industry.