In a move sure to anger equality campaigners, the UK Border Agency has told parliament it is working on plans to allow “high-value” travellers preferential treatment at airports.
Passengers viewed as valuable to either airlines or the UK economy could be offered the service, which is already available to business class travellers.
Brian Moore, the departing head of the UK Border Force, said the distinction could be made at immigration control under the plans.
It would be an extension of a priority queueing system tried out this year at Heathrow, under.
Under that system passengers from Australia, Canada, the US, New Zealand and other mainly old Commonwealth countries who do not need a visa to enter Britain were fast-tracked.
Moore told the Commons home affairs select committee earlier: “It is an idea that officials are discussing with port operators.
“It will then go back to ministers for them to consider whether and how it is going to be progressed.
“It is an idea that is being pursued.”
However, the idea has already been criticised in some quarters for perceived damage to UK equality, with poorer passengers suffering at the expense of those willing to pay.