Air travel has gotten annoying in recent years, hasn't it? You arrive at the airport only to get in a long line to pass through the security check. You shuffle, shuffle, shuffle to the front of the line, where you have to empty your pockets, take off your shoes, present your laptop, and perhaps end up being pulled to the side and frisked or traced with a beeping wand. Remember when air travel was glamorous?

Well, we might have to say goodbye to glamour when it comes to airports, but if you've got some excess cash on hand, you can make your time in airports more pleasant, thanks to the Registered Travel (RT) program. Developed by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and companies including General Electric (NYSE:GE) and Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT), the RT program offers passengers who sign up (and pay a fee, recently $99.95 per year) the ability to zip through security, having been screened in advance. The pre-screening involves the gathering of biographic information (to cross-check against various government databases) and biometric data (fingerprints and iris scans, for example).

The program is just rolling out, and so far it only operates in a few airports, such as Orlando and LaGuardia. At LaGuardia, there are reports of people waiting just four seconds to get through security. The program is being marketed to business travelers and by luxury hotels, among others. Additional perks may include luggage concierge services, special parking privileges, and discounts on products and services. One company signing people up is Verified Identity, via its "Clear" program.

While I welcome the opportunity to move through security lines more quickly, I confess that I'm shaking my head at the fact that we're being charged for this privilege. It seems that, in yet another way, our antiterror stance is creating a new industry, and the opportunity for more businesses to make money. Still, it's good for those shareholders, and for those who are willing to cough up the membership fee. So look into it, if you're interested -- as an investor or a traveler.

For many tips on traveling smarter and more inexpensively, visit our Travel Center. Visit our Best Travel Spots and Tips discussion board, too, to check out what information and opinions are being offered there.

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Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian owns shares of General Electric. Try any of the Fool's investing services free for 30 days. The Motley Fool is Fools writing for Fools.