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Can someone explain why there are so many different lines to a checkpoint?

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Friday, May 30, 2008
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Black/Blue/Green, First Class, Premier, Red Carpet-it seems like there are 18 different types of lines leading to a TSA checkpoint and only one for the "regular" traveler. What's the deal?

Well, there's the history and then there's where we're going.

Historically, TSA hasn't taken ownership over the security queue. This dates back to pre-9/11 and pre-TSA when airlines contracted with security companies to man checkpoints. Instead of taking control of the queues after 9/11 when we were established, we have relied upon the airport operator and the airlines to manage the queue for us so we could concentrate directly on screening passengers. This originally included checking passenger identification and boarding passes to ensure that only ticketed passengers were entering the queue and going through security. In general, TSA took the view that once you got to security, we treated everyone the same. Passengers may have progressed through the queue at a different speed, but they fed into the same security lines in the checkpoint itself.

In terms of real estate, the queue is not generally considered to be a part of the checkpoint. It's a part of the airport lobby where the line for people to enter into the checkpoint is setup. The actual screening takes place in the actual checkpoint. As a result, since it belonged to the airport, the airport operator and airline tenant were allowed to do what they wanted with it so long as everyone went through the checkpoint before they boarded their flight. Enter premium passenger lanes-without revenue coming to TSA. It was airport space, and we let the airport manage it.

Now for the Checkpoint Evolution view.

The first thing that our research on Checkpoint Evolution told us is that in terms of the passenger experience, the queue belongs to TSA-not entirely new to us, but something of which we should take more notice. We've tracked queue wait times for a long time; however, that data is used to make sure our airports are properly resourced, and our research has told us that the queue experience also has a critical element of which we needed to take notice. For example, inexperienced travelers and families feel like they need more time to prepare for screening, want more help with the process, and do not like being in the queue in front of a Road-Warrior traveler, tapping their foot, who doesn't really care about the queue experience as long as it moves quickly. (Road-Warriors can be irritated with the families and the slower travelers, but it's their lack of speed and not the fact they're a family that bothers them.)

So, we started looking for ways to put our research to good use with two goals in mind. First, we wanted to build a new environment that would make our behavioral observation programs more effective by helping to reduce the overall stress in the queue and the checkpoint. Second, we wanted to find a way to increase our efficiency and reduce x-ray alarm rates by allowing the fast passengers to move fast, and the slow passengers to take their time. End result - the "Black Diamond" pilot in Salt Lake City that joined the queue to the checkpoint and allowed passengers to pick a security line designed to meet their needs and let them move at their own pace (keeping Road-Warriors and the Families separate for the whole screening experience). For those new to the blog, "Black Diamond" was named after the ski logos that help snow skiers choose ski trails based on their level of difficulty.

The results were tremendously positive-especially with passengers who wanted an experience where they could take their time going through security. The queue and the security experience were much calmer for passengers, and our initial results show that the new multi-queue "Black Diamond" checkpoints are more efficient than regular checkpoints. We're now 20 airports later, and we're still seeing the same results. As a matter of fact, peak wait times at Salt Lake City this past Memorial Day weekend were about half as along as they were last year, even though the number of passengers going through the checkpoint actually went up by about 5 percent.

It's important to note that even under this new system, the queue still sits on airport real estate, so "Black Diamond" is only coming to a willing airport near you. TSA can't force an airport into a particular queue design-although more than a few airports are interested in the project. Security is a partnership between TSA, airport operators, airlines, and passengers, and TSA is looking to work with all comers. We're thankful for those airport operators who have been willing to experiment with us to build a better queue management mousetrap, but we also understand that airports have other needs, and even this project might not work everywhere.

Diamond lanes, family lanes, Elite lanes, whatever lanes, they all add up to a better experience for passengers and a safer environment for everyone.

Matt

EoS Blog Contributor

Comments

Submitted by Trollkiller on

Typo alert, you need a space between 9/11 & when.

Matt said...

"TSA can't force an airport into a particular queue design-although more than a few airports are interested in the project. Security is a partnership between TSA, airport operators, airlines, and passengers, and TSA is looking to work with all comers."

Matt if the TSA can force me to give up my water the TSA can force the airport into a particular queue design. The whole reason the TSA was invented in the first place was to enhance security.

"First, we wanted to build a new environment that would make our behavioral observation programs more effective by helping to reduce the overall stress in the queue and the checkpoint.

Second, we wanted to find a way to increase our efficiency and reduce x-ray alarm rates by allowing the fast passengers to move fast, and the slow passengers to take their time."

By your account the Diamond Lanes enhance not just security but efficiency.

"The results were tremendously positive-especially with passengers who wanted an experience where they could take their time going through security. The queue and the security experience were much calmer for passengers, and our initial results show that the new multi-queue "Black Diamond" checkpoints are more efficient than regular checkpoints."

A calmer checkpoint makes a nervous person stand out more, at least that is what we were told by the TSA when it introduced the BDOs.

A more efficient checkpoint has been one of Kip's stated goals. He wants to reduce wait time as much as realistically possible.

I will also assume, and feel free to correct me, that the number of x-ray (I think you meant metal detector) alarms went down.

So once again explain to me why the TSA can not force an airport to comply with a procedure that enhances security?

Submitted by Simon H B on

Just got back from the US, where I traveled through Salt Lake and Denver, and am a big fan of the new system - the thing that really surprised me was that people were surprisingly self-aware in choosing lanes; prior to the trip I'd assumed that the black lane would attract people who were over-confident about their familiarity with the system, but that wasn't really the case. Indeed, I'd suggest that there are people who could take the black route who aren't - that passengers tend to underestimate rather than overestimate their experience.

Overall, a very positive experience. Thank you!

Submitted by Anonymous on

The best improvement you could make to the screening process is to stop wasting everyone's time with mandatory shoe screenings and the scientifically indefensible 3-1-1 nonsense.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I really like the new queue system, but I think the TSA agents need to be more "on the ball" about moving people to the correct line. I saw families in the black diamond line and nobody made any attempt to get them to move to the green line. Trust me, they didn't go through at a black diamond rate.

Submitted by Michael 8-) on

I went through this set-up at SEA just before Memorial Day, and I am also a big fan!

Good to see the TSA slowly responding more and more to passenger feedback!

In particular, I liked the clearly visible video running with instructions about what to do and expect as one approached the checkpoint. One suggestion here, shouldn't you have closed captioning or bilingual subtitles (depending on airport)?

And, PLEASE remember, you can't possibly have too many seats/benches for taking shoes off before and putting things back on after.

Submitted by Anonymous on

The TSA is not the Local Airport Sanitation Workers Union, Numbers 1 & 2. It is a Federal agency charged with providing security for the transportation system while not destroying that system. If the TSA does not have the mandated brass to state "this is the queue design and it shall be followed" to every airport, then TSA should not believe that it has the mandated brass to tell every airport that those queues must exist. The TSA needs to decide what it wants from the airports, and then demand that they get it. Either that, or the TSA better get off the playing field and let someone else do their job.

If you want to make flying less stressful, so your BOPs work even better, you want the flying public to not have to think, analyze, determine, or react as they are being processed through the check-point to get to the gate. The 'delousing line' should be as mentally and physically painless as possible to everyone going through it.

Standardize the visible surface procedures so everything appears the same to the flyer, arm your people with a comprehensive collection of standardized routines and procedural methodology for dealing with the unusual, and continuosly improve what they are doing every day to prevent a 'you can't fly with the drawing of a gun-toting robot on your shirt' error from taking place. This will require hiring, training, and educating people to do their jobs correctly. Things fall through the cracks because the lack of enforced standards allow those cracks to exist.

Don't even get me started on the TWIC. Maybe someday the TSA will figure things out, and everything will work smoothly. Until then, I'll keep complaining about the obvious things that have 'passed through screening undetected'.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Can someone explain (at TSA) why clicking on the "oldest, older, newer, & newest" buttons in the Gripes and Grins thread and others with multiple pages doens't do anything?


To be on topic, if TSA cannot specify how the checkpoint entrance will be setup then you guys need to find another line of work.

It's a cop-out to say that the airport and airlines controls that function. Either step up and do the job or move on.

Submitted by Tomas on

I'm not a frequent air traveler, but I do keep abreast of rule changes and developments, and do come prepared.

Thing is, no matter how easy it may be for the TSA personnel to pass me through screening because I don't present problems and do know the procedures, I'm not a "fast mover."

Being handicapped I don't move rapidly, CAN NOT stand for long periods, so the only line I am concerned with is the one that does not make me stand for extended periods.

I don't care if it is the "green" line or the "black diamond" line or the "Pink with purple polkadots" line or the non-existant "handicapped access line", so long as it is PLAINLY and CLEARLY marked, does not require me to hike an extra half mile, does not require me to do things I am physically not capable of doing (Hello Philadelphia!), and has intelligent life forms on the other side of the counter.

Want me to remove my shoes? Great! I even wore easily removed/replaced shoes for the ordeal, just make damned sure I have a place to SIT to remove and SIT to put back on.

Want me to place my expensive and delicate laptop computer in a gray plastic tray? Fine! Just don't DUMP it out onto a stainless steel surface after it's x-rayed because you are short of trays.

Want me to wobble through your magic archway? No problem, just make sure there is something for me to hang on to before and after passing through - you took my cane, and I am NOT stable for long...

I'm not handicapped so I can get through screening faster, I'm handicapped and physically NEED to get through screening faster, and possibly with a bit more assistance and consideration that what I customarily get from the TSA folks.

Has anyone at the TSA ever heard of the ADA? Doesn't seem so. :o(

Tomas
University Place, WA

Submitted by Anonymous on

It only works when people are allowed to truly self select. Just because I have a baby does not mean I want to stand in the slow line. My baby has flown so often since she was born that I have become a pro at getting through the line and know what needs to be out and am ready to go. We come packed and ready to go. I don't like getting told that I have to be in slow line just because of a baby. Now I understand when I need more time, ie a stroller, diaper bag, laptop, and carry on can take a while. But when all I have is a diaper bag with liquids out then I should be able to go in a faster lane. Doesn't mean I want to go in the fastest line just not be forced into the slow lane.

Submitted by Anonymous on

You people need to realize that the queue itself is a risk. Every time I've flown through Las Vegas I've been in line with over 1000 other people with no security screening. There are numerous non-transparent trash cans in which anyone can drop an explosive and then walk away. Sure I'm safe on the plane, but what about the line? That is clearly the most dangerous part of my travel. And there isn't someone checking me before I enter it...

Submitted by Anonymous on

The problem with this system is that no matter how experienced you are as a flier, you never know what rules the officers are going to make up this time.

I still want you to explain to me why full body scans are not analyzed in the general security area. Either they are not invasive and can be done in public (in the same way personal belongings are X-rayed) or they are inappropriate and should not be used at all.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I recently travelled out of the U.S from Dallas/Fort Worth airport. After landing in my destination abroad, i found that the build-in lock in my luggage was cut (i had locked my bag) and there is a TSA letter inside informing me that they have decided to check the contents in my bag.

I took the matter up at DFW airport when i returned and nobody could help me. Everyone said the same thing: "you can write in to TSA."

Does TSA have the rights to damage personal items?

My bag lock is completely destroyed and i can't use it anymore. Why am I not informed before boarding that they are thinking of cutting my lock?

An employee at the airport told me that i shouldn't have locked my bag. Is that true? What about the numerous cases of TSA employees stealing from luggage?

What do i do from here?

Submitted by Cerulean Bill on

I hear you. And what you say makes sense. But (bet you know what's coming next) so long as it looks to me like the passengers who paid more (somehow -- pricier ticket, retina scan, magic wand) get to your processing area faster, I'm going to feel as if you -- not the airport, but YOU -- ripped me off. I know what you're saying, which is "Thats not true, TSA doesn't control it"; I need you to know what I'm thinking, which is "It sure feels like you do".

Submitted by Anonymous on
Trollkiller said . . .

Matt if the TSA can force me to give up my water the TSA can force the airport into a particular queue design. The whole reason the TSA was invented in the first place was to enhance security.. . . .

I will also assume, and feel free to correct me, that the number of x-ray (I think you meant metal detector) alarms went down.

So once again explain to me why the TSA can not force an airport to comply with a procedure that enhances security?

Hi Trollkiller,

Those are some good points. But honestly, it all comes down to real estate. The Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA) (the law that established TSA) limits the amount of space TSA is entitled to use rent-free at the airport. We have to pay rent for any we use except the checkpoint itself.

As I said before, the queue isn’t a part of the checkpoint. It’s a part of the lobby. There are various reasons for keeping the queue separate, including the rent and some legal issues dealing with searches (Please see Francine’s post from 2/21/08 about our legal authorities). At any rate, since it’s not part of the checkpoint, it belongs to the airport.

Since it’s airport property, we’re somewhat limited in what we can tell the airport to do with it. We set the standards for security, but we don’t tell an airport where to put the line. To do that for over 450 airports would be very difficult and very expensive. As much as we would like to have that kind of power, we can only do so much until we have to start paying rent.

As for your water, that’s something that happens within our territory. You cannot bring liquids over 3.4 oz. through the checkpoint. You can buy liquids in the sterile area and still take them on the plane with you. Like I said, it’s about the territory.

Lynn on the EOS blog team added the X-ray remark. She's been doing an analysis of Memorial Day stats and noticed the Salt Lake City data. At any rate, the goal was to increase throughput. There are lots of factors we think contribute to the higher efficiency in a Black Diamond checkpoint. Our industrial engineers and metrics folks could write a book on it, but reducing X-ray alarms wasn’t a goal itself in creating the Black Diamond management system—it’s a very interesting side effect.

In a Black Diamond checkpoint, the Green lane (for families and those needing assistance) moves slower than the Blue or Black lanes. Even though it moves slower, the Green lane requires fewer secondary bag searches because passengers seem to be doing a better job of properly divesting than other travelers. Our operational folks refer to calling for the bag search as an “alarm.” Fewer bag searches equals fewer “alarms.”

Thanks,

Matt
Submitted by Anonymous on

Multiple lines will not do a darn thing to improve efficiency or security if TSA personnel do not communicate with each other and follow the procedures.

Over the Memorial Day weekend in PHL, I was subjected to harrassment for not removing my orthopedics at the checkpoint. The person that was supposed to do the "male assist" asked me why I was sent aside, I told him for a shoe swab and expected to be on my way.

Unfortunately it took some time to resolve and several TSA personnel including a supervisor. None of them asked the WTMD person why I was sent aside and two, including the supervisor, told me I would not fly unless I removed my shoes.

Finally the supervisor acknowledged that I had a medical reason and OKed the swab.

When I asked for a comment card, I was initially told they did not have any. I reminded them that Bob on the Blog says these cards are readily available for the asking. But they are not. Some person, in normal clothes instead of a uniform and with no visible ID, told me I had to give her my photo ID to get a comment card. She then asserted that a police officer could ask for ID . . . not true . . . and I reminded her she wasn't a police officer. I told her I would gladly give her my name, as long as she showed me her ID.

The bottom line is that for all the work you are trying to do with this blog, your staff in the field are totally messing up your attempts by not following procedures and being antagonistic towards and trying to intimidate travellers. What you write here is not reality. TSA needs to get "secret travelers" to observe and evaluate the quality of the job being done.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I've been to Salt Lake City airport and I have to say that the security lines are extremely good.

In fact I'd even go as far as to say that they're the best setup I've seen.

The worst I think I've seen is London Gatwick with hugely long queues, slower security checks, and nowhere except limited floor space to put your shoes back on.

Submitted by Anonymous on

So let me get this straight. Its not the fault of the TSA that the lines are long and slow, it’s the airports fault because they own the ground where the lines form and the TSA can’t tell them what to do. That also explains why there is no place to sit when we need to put out shoes back on. So how did you acquire the ground the security checkpoint sits on isn’t that airport property to?

Give me a break. You’re a federal agency, which means you can override airport policy. There has been an evolution of security, you’ve gone from blaming passengers for slow lines because they bring items that have to be confiscated to the airports.

The real blame lies with the TSA. Recently on National Public Radio (NPR) they did a story on the new lines that have been created. It seems the TSA did focus groups where passengers asked for this and the TSA did not think it would work, Fortunately you did it anyway. I wonder what other ideas were suggested in the focus groups that the TSA thought wouldn’t work.

Submitted by Anonymous on

First: Last Weds. AM. CLT. Kudos to the TSA staff.

NOBODY SHOUTED AT US.

Very nice.

Then Fri. LAX. Terminal 6. AM.

The lanes were a joke.

One sign on main floor hidden behind a sign about bag sizes.

Oen sign off to the side up the escalator.

Clueless people in the "fast" lane.

Submitted by Dan S on

Perhaps the TSA might look into policing its own employees, from time to time, in order to make the pre- and post-checkpoint areas more comfortable. And maybe, doing the, apparently "hard work" of discussing pre- and post-checkpoint configurations with the local airport authority is worthwhile, rather than simply complaining that it's "hard work" and passing the buck.

Having lots of benches for getting your clothes, shoes and belts back on, and for repacking your bags is a nice gesture, but it's pointless if the vast majority of the benches are taken up by TSOs on their break.

Recently, when traveling through SJU on April 28, after existing customs and running smack into an incredibly large security queue for 'domestic' passengers (with less than 20 mins to catch our connection -- thanks, American!) there was no accommodation made, either by the airport, TSA or individual passengers, to help smooth the integration of post-Customs passengers into the queue, so it became a frenetic traffic jam.

After the checkpoint (which was staffed by some of the rudest TSOs I've ever seen -- the TSO manning the metal detector verbally berated an elderly man for walking "too slowly" through the checkpoint, after ordering the man to put his wooden cane on the conveyor and refusing to give the man a hand through the maze of detectors, gates, screening enclosures and conveyors), the "seating" area, beyond the checkpoint, was filled with a number of female TSOs, sitting on the benches and yammering away in Spanish. Any attempt at talking to them in English (whether it was to politely ask them to move, so that my wife and I could put on shoes, or ask directions, since there is a dearth of terminal signage once through the checkpoint) was met with dirty looks, rolled eyes and either a resumption of their conversation in Spanish, or a terse, irritated answer in English.

Submitted by Joe on

I think every article on this blog get followed up with complaints about the poor behvaior of TSA employees at the checkpoints. Not to my shock, you never see anything on this blog about making a concerted effort to improve the behavior and attitude of TSA personnel when dealing with the public, 99.99999% of whom are innocent taxpayers (not security threats.)

What's the deal? Yelling at the elderly? Yelling at the crowd? Intimidating people out of asking for comment cards?

You'll "calm" this checkpoint-goer when you do something about that.

Submitted by Michael 8-) on

I've got to agree with joe on that one...

I know you Blog Posters are putting up with lots of grief from commenters who will never ever be happy with anything you or the rest of the TSA do. On the other hand, some of us are on here regularly because we are genuinely interested in improving things. And MANY of us have complained about the outright rude behavior of TSA employees in a number of airports.

So, how about you tell us what you're doing to streamline your procedures and regulations systemwide and to perhaps beef up your customer service training? Bring in a Disney guy -- they know what they're doing!

Submitted by Anonymous on

Part of the checkpoint evolution and training involves the customer service aspect or so I've been told as we've not had it yet. It is being talked about on our internal blogs. Yes some TSO's are rude and I hope that they quit being that way but I also understand human behavior enough to know that rudeness goes both ways. Also elderly often cannot hear very well so the yelling might be for their own benefit because they've not heard our instructions at a normal voice level.

Submitted by Trollkiller on
Matt said...

The Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA) (the law that established TSA) limits the amount of space TSA is entitled to use rent-free at the airport.

Matt I read through the ATSA, I did not find any limitations to the amount of space the TSA can control at the airport. What I did find was the following located at the bottom of page 3 and the top of page 4.

‘‘(j) ACQUISITIONS.—
‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—The Under Secretary is authorized—

‘‘(A) to acquire (by purchase, lease, condemnation, or
otherwise) such real property, or any interest therein,
within and outside the continental United States, as the
Under Secretary considers necessary;

‘‘(B) to acquire (by purchase, lease, condemnation, or
otherwise) and to construct, repair, operate, and maintain
such personal property (including office space and patents),
or any interest therein, within and outside the continental
United States, as the Under Secretary considers necessary;

Please point me to where you think the ATSA limits the amount of free space the TSA is entitled to.

My suggestion, unless you know the exact Title, chapter and section, is to hand this to Francine and ask her. When you ask her about this make sure you tell her Trollkiller says "Hi".

Also be sure to tell her that she need not take the time to give a full explanation, the Title, chapter and section will enough for me to start with.
Submitted by Funny on

Very useful post thank you!

Submitted by Trollkiller on

Matt I am still waiting for the Title, chapter and section that limits the TSA on the real estate you are allowed at the airport.

Surely you can find the law or were you just talking out of your hat?

Submitted by Tomas on

As far as questions, who and how do we ask at the TSA or at their checkpoints about ADA accommodations without being ignored, insulted, delayed, or talked down to?

Does the TSA follow settled law in this area, or do they feel that somehow they are above any laws, regulations and/or rules that they did not make themselves?

Is it possible to get straight answers, and "reasonable accommodation," or will it take some person or organization with a large bankroll to sue the TSA and the individual TSA employees involved to get answers and changes?

Submitted by Trollkiller on

Matt I am still waiting.

To Tomas, the ADA requires that the offender show a pattern of violation. You may have a case against the TSA as their screening violates the ADA on a regular basis.

Submitted by Anonymous on

"Trollkiller said...
Matt I am still waiting for the Title, chapter and section that limits the TSA on the real estate you are allowed at the airport."

Maybe its one of those neo American secret laws.

,>)

Submitted by Trollkiller on
Anonymous said...

Maybe its one of those neo American secret laws.

,>)

Maybe it is a secret law, but most likely Matt was talking out his hat.

Seriously, how hard can it be to cite the section of the law that he brought up as justification for allowing classism at the checkpoint? I even gave him the person to go to if he was not sure.
Submitted by Trollkiller on

And I am still waiting.

Submitted by Trollkiller on

You know Matt, a simple "I misspoke" would work wonders here. As it sits you just look silly for claiming a law prevents you from acquiring more space at the airport when it doesn't.

I think I have been more than fair waiting for you to point me to the section of law that does what you claim.

So how about it Matt, does the law limit the TSA or not?

Submitted by Trollkiller on

Still Waiting Matt!!

Where is this mythical law? Next time you take a trip into Fairy Tale land please say hi to the unicorn for me.

As you may be noticing I do NOT like being lied to or ignored. You are doing both.

Admit it Matt, the airlines are being allowed to use the TSA, a Government entity that I pay for, for their own profitability. The classism that is allowed to occur at your Checkpoint stinks to high heaven.

This is like Jim Crow except it is not the color of your skin but the color of your money. I guess that is some what an improvement.

I took me a little bit before discovering the reasoning behind why this classism is allowed to exist. I wondered why an agency like the TSA would allow even the perception of impropriety to hang in the air like the putrid stench of an waste treatment plant.

I have decided that the reason the airlines are allowed to do this and why the TSA capitulates like a good slave is the airlines have Congressmen in their pockets. The airlines have lobbyists, the average citizen does not.

The TSA knows that most people do not fly enough to get really upset about the classism, as it is a minor irritation compared having Stasi like demands placed on our travel.

Submitted by MSO TSO on

The airlines make their bread and butter through the frequent business travelers and not those once, twice a year or less flyers. Those business travelers know how to make it through the checkpoint quickly. They either have their baggie out or have placed it in their checked bag. They are prepared. It's not that they pay for the convenience of the faster lanes at some airports, it's that they will allow a lot more passengers to be screened a lot faster due to being prepared.

The TSA doesn't care how much they paid for their ticket or who paid. Everyone will be screened the same, and on occasion those business travelers will be selected for extra screening due to the random luck factor being thrown in. So it's not like they are getting a free ride. They still get screened. They still might get some additional screening on occasion, and if they have an implant they are going to get that handwand or patdown.

I do not see this as a class thing at all.

Submitted by Trollkiller on
MSO TSO said...
The airlines make their bread and butter through the frequent business travelers and not those once, twice a year or less flyers. Those business travelers know how to make it through the checkpoint quickly. They either have their baggie out or have placed it in their checked bag. They are prepared. It's not that they pay for the convenience of the faster lanes at some airports, it's that they will allow a lot more passengers to be screened a lot faster due to being prepared.

The TSA doesn't care how much they paid for their ticket or who paid. Everyone will be screened the same, and on occasion those business travelers will be selected for extra screening due to the random luck factor being thrown in. So it's not like they are getting a free ride. They still get screened. They still might get some additional screening on occasion, and if they have an implant they are going to get that handwand or patdown.

I do not see this as a class thing at all.

We are talking about the airline controlling who goes into the checkpoint and when.

You know that part where the First Class passengers line up in one area and the cattle class passengers line up in another so the First Class passengers can go through the checkpoint first. Sorry for your confusion.

Although I have never been to Missoula, I doubt your airport is large enough for the classism to be a problem. If the airport website is accurate Missoula only has about 80 departures a day and that number includes all of the general aviation flights.

So do you tell the travelers they have to remove their spurs for security reasons or the fact it is just good manners? ;-)
Submitted by S on

I think this is a good system in theory, but the TSA agents at LAX were just directing people into the Diamond Lane which was moving faster (which it is supposed to do!) which slowed down the whole process. When I approach the check point I'm ready to go with laptop out and everything packed in a single layer in my bag so I can go though with no delay.

I don't appreciate having a clueless traveler with a packed laptop, keys in pocket, and still wearing his jacket waved over in front of me in the Diamond Lane.

I know some people will self select incorrectly either because they don't understand the system or because they overestimate their knowledge base, but there is no excuse for the TSA agents just moving people around. They do know better!

Submitted by Anonymous on

Here's an idea: Allow First Class into the short security line, but double the "AY" fee charged to their ticket.

Submitted by Emarch on

I just had my first experience with the G/B/B system in LAX. First of all, i think people vastly over rate their experience when choosing a line. I had a lady in front of me take 5 minutes to get herself prepared to go through the screener. Here is a hint, If you have 2 bags that you plan on taking on board, perhaps the blue lane would provide more time for you to unpack all your crap to get it through the X ray. Second, if you are under the age of 18, or are traveling with anybody under that age you have NO BUSINESS being in the expert line.

Submitted by Anonymous on

So what's with the "you've been randomly selected for an airport check-in" policy? Instead of being able to travel with just a carry-on and check-in on-line and avoid the whole crowd of people checking in on a busy early flight, I have to get up an hour earlier (4:30am is bad enough) merely for the privilege of standing in a line I could normally avoid. If the security check is up to scratch, why do I get further inconvenienced in advance, and what benefit do you get from it? (The airline blamed this on TSA when I queried it)

As regards the check itself, I echo those who ask for more seating. Another enhancement would be to allow the trays to be removed quickly from the line to a table further away to avoid someone struggling to carry his shoes, belt, hold his pants up, collect loose change, a jacket and a bag and not hold up the queue behind him as he reassembles his belongings, although I have to say I'm getting better at it.

Submitted by Beshops Vertrouwen on

I'm happy that there are not so many lines in the aireports in Belgium.
Lucky us. I wouldn't know in which line I have to be.

Submitted by ZorbAA on

:D Really I wonder it too :D

Submitted by Greg Sawiris on

As a customer service initiative, TSA is providing security checkpoint wait time information to assist travelers in planning for their next flight.

Submitted by Carlos Uson on

Here's what i have to say, if TSA cannot specify how the checkpoint entrance will be setup then you guys need to find another line of work.

Submitted by Jay Shawn on

this really is a pain in the neck. they should improve this by making it shorter. too much time is a luxury i dont have.

Submitted by Anonymous on

This is an easy answer to your question. To catch the bad guys. TSA is not perfect and never will be. Have you ever heard of a terrorist boarding at an Isreali airport? I have not, that is why we should make it even more difficult even if it makes it more difficult and time consuming for us.

Submitted by Anonymous on

It is unacceptable and unlawful for the there to be a separate set of lines for first class passengers. This is a misuse of taxpayer funds.

On a recent trip through Houston Bush, we noted an entirely separate queue and an entirely separate set of TSA staffed security inspections. Since TSA is taxpayer-funded, not ticket-funded how can this be justified?

Submitted by Anonymous on

TSA says it can not force an airport into a particular queue design. Where the airport has set up a seperate first clase line...TSA could refuse to provide security searches to the people in that first class line. That would solve the problem.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Someone should organize peaceful protests (like the ones now going on in the middle east) against TSA for allowing class discrimination (first class passangers first policy).

Submitted by Anonymous on

Who can tell me how I can protest TSA's decision to honor the airport's discriminatory queue? What can be done to get TSA to exert it's authority?

Submitted by Anonymous on

I travel frequently for work and had never noticed the security checkpoint "classism" being described here until one of my most recent flights. I was getting in the security queue at SFO and overheard heard a TSO say to another passenger "there is another security line over there, past those red signs with little to no wait." I thought, that sounds great, turned around and headed for the other line. I got in that line without even glancing at the signage and was waiting there for approximately 3 minutes when an airline employee came up to me and asked to see my boarding pass. I was told "this line is for first class passengers only, you will need to go to one of the other security liner over there." I was dumbfounded! I was already about 2/3 of the way through the line before an airline employee kicked me out of it and made me get in line with the rest of the commoners. What gave it away to the woman that I was not a "first class citizen." Way it my clothing? My luggage? She was not checking everyone's boarding pass, she just asked for mine. Dang, I shouldn't have had my Carhart on! That thing just screams blue collar.

As I was waiting in the class appropriate line, I wondered to myself, who pays for the TSA? Is it funded by the airports and airlines or, as I suspect, funded by taxes? If it is funded by taxes then it seems to me a violation of our constitution's amendment 14 is taking place. You know, the one that made slaves citizens and guaranteed equal treatment and protection under the law. Much as another poster had commented on Jim Crow laws. I wondered, does every airport have a "first class" security line. If so, where did they hide the one at my home airport, as I had never accidentally wandered into it before.

Now, if the TSA is funded by the airports or airlines, then by all means, class the hell out us. That is capitalism at its finest! I might even consider paying the difference between coach and first class myself if it meant that I could guarantee a shorter security wait. Shoot, they could even market a separate "security line" upgrade that might prove profitable.

So I got home and started to research what in the heck makes it right for there to be discrimination in what I have strong suspicions is a tax funded "service." And I come upon this blog, where the TSA confirms that they are indeed a govt. entity, funded by taxes. Yet, they do not have the authority to dictate how security lines are organized from airport to airport.

I am not sure what I expected. But I can't say that I am surprised that the wealthy have found their way around this system so that benefits them. I almost wish the TSA was funded by the airports and airlines. I wouldn't mind being treated like a second class citizen knowing I had the option to pay for first class treatment. Also, the whole process would end up being more streamlined. Private industry seems to have a way with efficiency that the government just can't grasp.

However, a govt. entity that caters to the wealthy and then claims "we don't have any control over it" just rubs me the wrong way. Imagine going to the DMV and there were two ticket counters, for which you had to bring in your tax files in order to determine which line you had to wait in.

So, I sit here shaking my head in shame over yet another piece of evidence of the class wars emerging in our country. It's a Damn shame!

Submitted by Anonymous on

When I get to the head of the line, whether it be a first class line or not, it is a TSA agent that checks my ID and boarding pass. I can not believe that TSA does not have authority over the queue leading to that agent. I think TSA keeps the first class line because most of the lawmakers fly first class. Only the "common people" should be inconvenienced in the view of the politicians.