Monday, November 10, 2008

Family/Special Needs Lanes Coming to All Airports in Time for Thanksgiving Travel

The Diamond Self Select Program [link] started back in February 2008 at Salt Lake City International Airport and is now operating in 48 airports. The program allows passengers to proceed through the security checkpoint at their own pace by selecting one of three lanes: Black Diamond (for Expert Travelers), Blue Square (for Casual Travelers), and Green Circle (for Families, those with special needs, and those unfamiliar with TSA procedures.)

Today, TSA announced that the Family/Special Needs Lane (Green Circle) will be implemented at every security checkpoint across the nation by November 20, 2008—just in time for the busy Thanksgiving travel season.

While many frequent travelers appreciate the Black Diamond Lane, we’ve also seen a great deal of success with the Family Lanes. Families and those with special needs appreciate the extra time and assistance, and our officers have seen the number of prohibited items in these lanes drop significantly because passengers have more time to divest.

From a risk management standpoint, directing all medically necessary liquids that exceed the 3-1-1 limits to a dedicated lane makes sense. This move is the first step in the path forward on liquids that Kip Hawley wrote about last month [link].

What do passengers need to know about this development? If you’re flying after November 20th and carrying medically necessary liquids in containers larger than 3 ounces, you should use the Family Lane. Medically necessary liquids include: baby formula, breast milk, insulin, cough syrup, contact lens solution, and prescription medications. These liquids must be presented to a TSA Officer for additional screening, which should usually take less than 2 minutes.
If you don’t have any exempt liquids, proceed with your baggie to any other security lane. Remember, you can pack any amount of liquid in your checked luggage.

Poster Paul