Do you fly more than once a month? Can you go through security checkpoints in your sleep? Then you may be what the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) would consider a “Travel Expert.” Conversely, those who travel less frequently and need a little more time getting through screening are classified as “Casual Travelers.”
What do these new ways of stereotyping mean for flying? Well, the TSA has rolled out its new Black Diamond program in 12 airports across the country, modeling it after the way ski resorts divide skiers into groups based on experience. Theoretically, the “black diamond” lane will be used by frequent travelers who want to fly through security, the “blue square” lane will be used by those moving at a slightly slower pace, and the “green circle” will be for families and those in wheelchairs wanting a stress-free experience.
The new system is completely voluntary, and it’s up to you to decide what kind of traveler you are. There won’t be a TSA bouncer to throw you from one line into the next. So far, people have responded fairly well to choosing the line that best suits their needs, but there has been some confusion over the new procedure. The signs stating the qualifications that define an expert versus a casual traveler are not exactly clear, and many passengers are confused as to whether it’s mandatory or not.
Despite the initial uncertainty, the lines have been picking up pace, and many travelers feel less pressure to rush.