Whose Line is it Anyway?

I was quite surprised by a new set up at LAX when traveling to New York for a meeting last week.  Signs at the security checkpoint asked me to choose a line depending on my travel status.  Was I an expert traveler, a casual traveler or a traveler with a family?
Clearly, as it was 5 a.m. and my family was still at home tucked in bed, I could tick off family traveler.  But, since I was going to New York for both a business meeting and for a personal commitment, I had trouble deciding which “label” fit best.
A recent Wall Street Journal article confirmed that I am not alone in my confusion.  Many people find the signs unclear and are not sure if choosing the correct line is mandatory or voluntary.  However, the Transportation Security Administration says the program is working better than originally anticipated and that traveler aggravation is being minimized.  Many people like the new system and believe they are getting through security quicker and with less hassle.
According to the TSA, the “Black Diamond” program, named for the ski-resort term for expert trails, is aimed at improving security by creating a less stressful experience.  The program, which is currently in operation in a handful of airports today, is slated for expansion to additional airports in the near future.
So, which line did I ultimately choose?  Given my familiarity with security procedures and having mastered the art of taking my jacket and shoes off while removing my laptop, I decided I was indeed an expert traveler.  It didn’t speed my wait time any, but I suppose during peak travel hours it’s a plan that just might work.


Laurie Berman, Senior Vice President, lberman@pondel.com

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