The travel world is abuzz with TSA's recent announcement that they will soon be testing a new concept aimed at more efficient security procedures: segregated lines and traveler definitions. Read more about it here.
At the surface level, I thank the TSA for feeling my pain when I'm in the security line, trapped behind the family with twelve whining toddlers, twelve bulky carry-ons, twenty-four stinky shoes and a lot of whining, mostly from me.
However, I really wonder how this is going to work. The obvious goal here is to make things quicker for those that are ready, but like most government notions, there is quite the gray area here. The family line I completely understand, no questions there. But what about the rest of us childless folk? I mean, there is no Naive First-Time Traveler with No Children line. Or Senior Travelers That Always Overpack line. The only people this is going to truly benefit are the business commuters, the people that are traveling often, usually on their company credit card in business class or higher. In which case, I can only ask, "Seriously?"
I take two major international trips a year which leave me pretty familiar with the procedure, but it doesn't exactly make me an Expert Traveler. So I wonder if I really qualify to jump into the line with the man who flies five times a week. And if not, am I condemned to wait in the other line with most everyone else who has been lumped together?
Plus, this self-classification idea based on a simple sign hasn't exactly worked in the past. I think we've all waited in the customs line marked "US CITIZENS ONLY" behind the clueless foreign family that have no idea they're in the wrong place. There is no guarantee I won't still get stuck behind The Brady Bunch.
I don't dislike the idea. Anything to make security lines shorter is a Godsend. But I think if TSA is going to start classifying travelers, they need to grab it by the balls and do it right. Make it clear. Provide sufficient classifications and enforce them. You are, after all, security.