As I’ve referenced before, I’m a pretty frequent flier. Unfortunately, I fly a lot around in the Northeast US, so while I’m often on a plane, I don’t rack up a lot of miles, which means that my frequent flier mileage doesn’t necessarily reflect how much of an experienced traveler I am. But I am an experienced traveler – I’m the guy that the TSA agents like… I make sure I pat myself down before going through the metal detector, know that I have to take my laptop out of my briefcase and always take off my shoes. I even know that I need to move down to the end of the x-ray belt and what order things need to go through the x-ray so that I can get my shoes on, put my laptop in my briefcase, put my quart bag of toiletries in my rolling suitcase, and then put my briefcase on my suitcase and then put on my jacket so I can go tie my shoes away from the line of people trying to get through security.
OK, so I’m a bit "type A" about going through security, but it works and it makes it much less stressful.
So what drives someone like me crazy is getting stuck behind "amateurs." If I’m not in a rush, I find it humorous, like the time a TSA guard asked an older gentleman to take off his shoes and he responded by asking "why?" Here’s a hint: when the nice man with the gun/taser/mace spray/ability to lock you up tells you to take off your shoes, you simply take off your shoes. One of my all-time favorites is the couple that didn’t quite understand the way that the carry-on liquids rule works. Not only did they not have a quart bag, but in the bag they DID have, they had large containers of hair gel, shampoo, etc. I actually heard them arguing with a TSA agent, saying that there was two of them, so couldn’t they have a 6 ounce bottle of shampoo? You’re allowed 3 ounce containers per person, so why not a 6 ounce container if you’re traveling together? Why not indeed?
I’ve often wished for an "expert" lane at airport security. A lane where the frequent travelers – usually identified by a briefcase, a rolling carry-on, and a quart bag filled with generic travel sized toiletry containers written on with a black Sharpie – can do their thing and not get frustrated by the family of four that hasn’t flown in 5 years, didn’t bother to read what they are supposed to do before getting on the plane and are now in their third pass through the metal detector.
Turns out I’m not alone – Logan airport in Boston is considering such a plan, and apparently it is being tested in Denver and Salt Lake City. Reading that Denver article is interesting – it says that the last thing families want to do is hold up people in the line. I am sure this is true, and I’ve seen very apologetic people if they are messing up the security line, and I appreciate the apology. But I’ve also seen people that are completely ignorant of their surrounding and fellow travelers. Those are the people who REALLY bug me. Maybe we should have these three lanes: 1) Know what you’re doing and care about getting through quickly 2) Kind of know what you’re doing and don’t mind waiting with others 3) No clue and ignorant of anyone else.