Published: 5/9/2008 12:29 AM
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Are you the type of savvy traveler who glides through airport security -- shoes off, identification on display and cell phone ready for inspection?
Or did you cause a scene the last time you flew, back in 1998, when your ticket got misplaced and your Yorkshire terrier had an accident?
Midway International Airport now is offering a way to separate the novices from the traveling pros with tailor-made lanes at security checkpoints.
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration has created three separate streams for passengers to choose from. Signs similar to those at ski resorts direct people to the different categories.
• Expert, represented by a black diamond, caters to experienced passengers, such as business travelers.
• Casual, distinguished with a blue square, is for passengers who fly fairly often and are familiar with security procedures.
• Family/special assistance, indicated by a green circle, is designed for parents with young children, seniors and people who need help boarding.
The new security lanes are being tried out at about 15 airports across the country and started at Midway Thursday.
"The response has been great when we rolled it out in Denver and Salt Lake City," TSA spokesman Elio Montenegro said.
The concept is intended to speed up checkpoints and reduce stress for travelers who need more time.
The TSA is working with O'Hare International Airport and airlines to determine when to start the program there.
"O'Hare creates more of a challenge for configuring the lanes," Montenegro said, adding improvements will happen before the end of the year.