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TSA Tries Letting Travelers Decide What Type of Passenger They Are

Readers of the TSA’s blog know that the agency has recently decided to roll out a program in Salt Lake City that has different lanes for different types of travelers. 08_02_17 tsalanesAs you can see at left, passengers will have three different choices. While the idea seems to be a good one, and I never have a problem with trying new things, I don’t think this one is going to end well.

The idea here is that when you get to the checkpoint at Salt Lake City, you will see the signs for Families/Special Assistance, Casual Travelers, or Expert Travelers. As you can imagine, the family line will take the longest as people take forever to get their remove their kids from their bags, stack laptops on top of each other like a Jenga game, and pour liquids into their shoes . . . or something like that. The expert lines are meant for the business traveler who knows the drill and has everything ready by the time he or she reaches the front of the line. All sounds great, right? Not so fast.

The biggest problem here is that there’s no enforcement – just self selection and that won’t work.

It would be great if everyone acted like my friend Benet Wilson over at Towers and Tarmacs. Benet may be a pro traveler, but when she has her daughter, she’d go in the slow line. Something tells me not everyone will be so kind. Instead, people will just act in their own self interest.

Let’s say you’re traveling on Sunday afternoon. You can bet there will be a ton of families, so that line will be long. What will stop someone from going to the other shorter lines? Not much. And what about the business traveler who thinks he’s a pro, but in actuality completely forgets to pull out his laptop and liquids? That’ll slow things down.

I just see too many problems here unless someone is going to regulate the flow of passengers. The good news is, however, that this is just a test. If it works, then cool. We’ll see it elsewhere, I’m sure. If not, well, it’ll go away and we’ll forget that it ever happened.

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