For those that fly regularly or pay attention to the news, you may remember that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has been modifying security checkpoints to accommodate three separate categories of travelers. From the TSA website:
“The self-select pilots 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 who 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.”
On my recent travels to Las Vegas, I departed from Milwaukee’s General Mitchell Airport which utilizes the new lanes. As I approached the checkpoint I noticed that the “Family/Special” lane was closed and that there were approximately 20 people in the “Expert” lane, with no one in the “Casual” lane. All the lanes converged onto one x-ray and metal detector line. I thought I was pretty experienced with flying but I figured I would take the “Casual Traveler” line as I wasn’t in a hurry. I expected to have to wait until the “Expert” line cleared out, but that wasn’t the case. As soon as I hit the front of the “Casual” lane, the TSA employee stopped the “Experts” and waved me through. I basically skipped in front of 20 air travelers by picking the lane that was empty and ignoring the signs.
At that point I decided I was indeed an “Expert” traveler…