TSA rolls out more "expert" security lanes

Today, the TSA is set to expand its Black Diamond security checkpoint program to Milwaukee, making it the 13th airport so far to offer self-select lanes based on ski icons (green for beginners, blue for intermediate, and black for expert).

After debuting in Salt Lake City in mid-February, the program has rolled out—in order of appearance—to Denver, Spokane, Boston, Orlando, Cincinnati, Raleigh-Durham, Portland, Seattle, Pittsburgh, Houston-Hobby, and Oakland airports, according to a TSA spokesperson.

In case you haven't seen it, here's a one-minute video explaining the system:


While flying from Oakland last week, I used the system, which launched at that airport on April 18.

By picking the near-empty "expert traveler" lane, I was able to skip 10 people in the blue "casual traveler" line. However, my gloating was short-lived since I ended up standing behind a member of the National Guard, who had unlaced his boots but neglected to take them off. After beeping the second time, he had to go back to remove his wallet and belt.

At this point, the TSA had opened another checkpoint, and I sadly watched the "casual travelers" bypass me.

When we blogged about this service before, readers generally gave favorable comments about the idea.

What do you think of the program? Was I just unlucky, or are slow lines common even in "expert" lanes?


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