I was traveling from Chicago’s Midway Airport today and had my first encounter with a new TSA system that lets passengers sort themselves into the appropriate security lane based on their experience traveling and whether they’re with their family. The coding is like on a ski slope. Green/circle lanes are for families and those needing special assistance. Blue/square lanes are for casual travelers and black/diamond lanes are for expert travelers. My colleague and I took the expert lane, which said it was designed for people who travel more than twice a month, elite status fliers, people who know the TSA 3-1-1 rules and so on. That’s us.
I’d read about these lanes before and heard that their kickoff had been surprisingly smooth, with reduced stress all around.
When we got to the front of the line we were surprised that the person in front of us was taking so long. He didn’t seem to have his act together and my colleague joked with him that this was the expert lane. He got a little defensive. He finally went through the metal detector but once his bag made it through the X-ray machine he was taken aside. The TSA agent opened his bag and pulled out a giant bottle of shampoo and a giant bottle of mouthwash. The guy must have come straight from Costco to the airport! He was acting very innocent and I really wonder what he was thinking.
Looks like they may need to open up a double black diamond lane next time.May 23, 2008