Are You Skilled Enough For The TSA's "Black Diamond" Security Line?

Are you a good skier? Do you tackle the “black diamond” slopes without hesitation? Well, the TSA has a new challenge for you — the “black diamond” security line. In an effort to reduce the stress that travelers feel when families are holding up the security line — or when pushy frequent fliers try to cut in front of those families, the TSA has been testing a “self-select” program that allows fliers to choose which line they would feel most comfortable in.

The TSA says the program has been a big success and has expanded it to 21 airports. They claim the expert lanes move faster and families are receiving more assistance and sounding fewer alarms. There’s even a “casual” lane for travelers who know the rules but don’t like feeling rushed by those pushy “black diamond” people.

Since it appears to be here to stay, If you’d like to strap on your bureaucracy skis and give the “black diamond” line a shot, the TSA offers these helpful tips:

  • DO: Wear slip-on shoes. Laces and zippers will slow you down.

  • DO: empty your pockets and put loose items in your purse, jacket pockets, or carry-on bag while before you get to the checkpoint.
  • DO: place magazines, snacks or souvenirs purchased in the airport in a carry-on bag or purse before you get to the checkpoint. Consolidating your items before they go in the bins will help you recompose quickly and clear the checkpoint exit area.
  • DO: have your liquids baggie out of your carry-on, and make sure you don’t have any loose liquid items in your purse or carry-on bag. Notify a security officer if you have any exempt liquids so an officer can provide additional screening if necessary.
  • DO: put your shoes and coat in the first bin and any carry-on bags in other bins. Then after your bins go through the x-ray, you can slip your shoes and coat on while waiting for your other items to come out.
  • DO: put your laptop bag in the bin before your laptop. Then as the bins come out of the x-ray, just slip it back in, zip and go.
  • DO: put your bins on the belt for the x-ray machine vertically versus horizontally. This allows the security officers to view more than one image at a time, and helps speed up the process.
  • DON’T: try to put shoes or boots with zippers or laces on right when you take them out of the bins. Move to the side to let other passengers take their items and go.

For a list of airports that feature the “black diamond” lane, click here.

Black Diamond Self Select Lanes [TSA]
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