Expert Traveler Airport Lines Coming to MSP

Greg was all fired up over on Metblogs the other day about a plan to bring “Expert Traveler Lines” to MSP. As he explained via the PiPress, the plan is to provide separate lines for experienced travelers vs people who may take longer to navigate airport security.

I recently had a chance to see this plan in action in Denver. After navigating a Disney-line maze, you’re presented with signs where you self-select which line is most appropriate for you based on how fast you navigate security. They’re given skiing style black diamond and green circle treatment in Denver, but I don’t don’t know if that’s just local flavor.

It’s tough to read in my blurry Treo photo, but the bullets suggest that the “Expert” line is for those familiar with TSA procedures and are traveling light:

Expert Traveler Line at DEN

The Green line (Families and Special Assistance) suggests that it’s appropriate for people traveling with small children, strollers, groups, or are new to flying and need assistance.

Families and Special Assistance Line at DEN

Guess which line I chose?

Green! Why? Because there was no line.

The “Expert” line’s bullet points are a bit off. Personally, I don’t know of a business traveler who’s truly traveling light since they tend to have a laptop and possibly a change of close, toiletries, etc. with their in order to avoid checking luggage. However, they are familiar with procedures and are less likely to bring a line to a halt by forgetting to remove their cell phone before walking through a metal detector.

While I have my doubts about whether this moves people through security faster on average, I could see it reducing the aggravation of regular travelers who are dumbfounded by novice traveler’s inability to understand what’s metal.

5 thoughts on “Expert Traveler Airport Lines Coming to MSP”

  1. My trip to DC today got canceled, otherwise I would have a report from MSP. I’ve been thinking about the length of line issue. Wouldn’t everyone just picker the slower line?

  2. This is absolutely the wrong answer to the airport congestion problem. The correct answer is to do away with the pointless, ineffective security circus that wastes so much time in the first place. Shoes don’t need to be taken off, laptops don’t need to be placed in separate bins, and this madness with carry-on liquids is pure BS.

  3. (I wish I could remember where I saw the article on this a few weeks ago.)

    What I read is that, overall, it makes the process go faster, but that’s an average. Folks with kids are going to take longer, period. So it goes a little faster for most and slower for some. The main finding was that the security area was a lot calmer.

    But yeah, an expert traveler is gonna take the shortest line.

    And there’s always that “incompetent people don’t know they’re incompetent” caveat.

  4. Some how Kat and I missed the expert line when we flew out to Portland. We got stuck in a line full of people who did not know you were supposed to remove liquids, take off shoes, etc.
    Our travel partners, however, saw the expert line and were through in a few minutes.

  5. I was among the first “expert travelers” using this service in MSP. I flew to Chicago on Saturday, a TSA employee asked if I had all my liquid luggage in the required clear plastic bags, when I said yes, she waved me toward the Black Diamond line.

    It was quick.

    I suppost it was the suit that suggested I was an “expert traveler.” Actually, I don’t fly too often, perhaps 3-4 times a year.

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