The TSA lets United charge $39 for better security access. This is fair how?

Jason Cochran

United Airlines has a new sneaky trick up its sleeve. It may not get you where you're going within five hours of your promised target, but it's sure in a hurry to soak you with fruitless charges.

Its latest cash grab is the right to buy "Premier line" access, either when you buy your ticket online or check in at the airport. United tempts customers with a come-on that starts: "Take a fast track through the airport!" Blow $39 ($78 round-trip), and you'll get the "Premier" check in line, the "Priority" security line, and "Priority" boarding. Of course, there are terms and conditions.

United's "Premier" passenger fee is a rip-off. Thursday at both LaGuardia airport in New York City and at Dulles airport outside Washington, D.C., I saw first-hand what makes it such a complete gyp: