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New security checkpoint system at Midway

May 8, 2008 3:23:30 PM PDT
Travelers at Midway Airport will have some new choices when they go through security starting Thursday.The choose-your-own experience level concept was born on the ski slopes of Aspen and Steamboat Springs. But, at Midway Airport it comes down to pre-screening passengers before they get to security checkpoints in order to speed things up.

At question- What kind of traveler are you? The system is taking flight with some air travelers looking to breeze through airport security lines.

"I saw it on T.V. this morning. I look at Channel 7 every morning. So I say, 'Oh, that sounds good,'" said air traveler Freda Weddington.

The new security procedures began at Midway Airport this week. The screening system utilizes color-coded signs like those used at ski resorts to designate how easy or difficult a run is.

"This works in Denver, it's worked in Salt Lake City, it's worked at D.C. and B.W.I. So everywhere it has been implemented, it has been working pretty good," said Dereck Starks, TSA Director.

Air travelers will choose to be directed into one of three lines -- black for the experienced or business traveler; blue for the casual traveler; and green for novice passengers, families traveling together, and those who have special needs.

"I don't fly a lot so it's OK," said novice traveler Jamie Carr.

Transportation officials say the goal is not only to improve efficiency, but also to cut down on passenger frustration and anxiety caused by long wait times blamed on inexperienced travelers.

"There's heavier volume today so it's hard to say if this will be quicker or not. It would be nice if they would have a clear pass at Midway," said business traveler Bob Hoban.

Transportation authorities say the system allows for better screening of passengers. However, some travelers say they are waiting to see the improvements.

"It's always busy. You have got to undress when you get here, take off your shoes, take off your jacket. You have to undress," said Myrtle Meyers.

Passengers that come out to Midway Airport should experience a shorter waiting time at security checkpoints.

O'Hare Airport transportation and security officials say it could be implemented there as soon as this summer. The color-coded system is already in place in a dozen of airports around the country.

Diamond Lane Self-Select Program

  • 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;
  • Family/Special Assistance: For passengers traveling with small children or strollers, elderly passengers and passengers who may need special assistance.

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