TSA announces expansion of 'Diamond' Self-Select Lanes

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National Press Release
Wednesday, March 5, 2008

WASHINGTON – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) today announced the expansion of its popular "Self-Select Lanes" to six additional airports by the end of April.

Salt Lake City International and Denver International Airports instituted the self-select lane process two weeks ago and have seen an overall increase in throughput and greatly increased customer satisfaction. The term "Black Diamond" comes from the signs used in skiing to denote skill level suggested for specific runs.

"In keeping with Secretary Chertoff's instruction to examine our screening procedures, TSA is looking for ways to improve the passenger screening experience while increasing security," said Kip Hawley, TSA administrator. "Simple yet effective, this program empowers passengers and gives federal security directors a way to create operational efficiencies at their checkpoints."

Self-Select Lanes are comprised of a series of lanes designated by signage that directs passengers based on their travel needs and knowledge – Expert, for the business traveler who flies several times a month; Casual, for passengers that travel less frequently, but are familiar with the security process; and Family/Special Assistance, for passengers traveling with small children or strollers, elderly passengers and passengers who may need special assistance.

While expert travelers have experienced a significant reduction in wait times, TSA has also observed the family lane running much smoother as well. By giving families more time to prepare for screening, we are discovering many less prohibited items during the screening process.

"What we have seen is a calmer checkpoint, happier passengers and significantly lower wait times for the most experienced travelers," said Salt Lake City Federal Security Director Earl Morris. "This is a win-win situation. Security is best served by a calm screening environment and the passengers get a less stressful, more efficient security experience."

TSA is in the process of selecting additional airports based on input from our partners. Airport selection is based on a number of factors, including checkpoint configuration, stakeholder support and passenger population.

To watch a video of the Black Diamond Self-Select Lanes in action, please visit www.tsa.gov (wmv, streaming). To view passenger response on this and other TSA innovations, visit www.tsa.gov/blog.