Travel: November 2008 Archives

Travel tips for Midway Airport

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Run! To this rectangle!

I doubt that airport security checkpoints are anyone's favorite part of Thanksgiving, but here's a tip for folks who will be flying out of Midway to get to their turkeys and tofurkeys this Thursday.

Since early summer, the initial security screening area at Midway has been divided into three sections: one for "Casual Travelers", one for "Families", and one for "Expert Travelers." The system is designed to reduce stress and increase efficiency (and of course to quell terror) but it's not entirely obvious what's going on. The last time I visited Midway, I endured the most scrutinizing ID-check I'd ever experienced and so felt I'd earned my stripes as an "expert" traveler. I shuffled over to the farthest right lane in the security area, and following the signs I wound my way around a corner into a separate screening area. Two sets of metal detectors and TSA squads and all of one fellow passenger awaited me. Forty-five seconds and a pat-down later, I was re-lacing my shoes and heading to my gate. Now this was a Sunday afternoon in a non-peak travel time, but the two-dozen or so families and travelers who were still waiting to sort out their laptops and spare change definitely had a longer wait than I did.

So for folks who are traveling light and don't need much guidance through the screening process (shoes off, belt undone, liquids in a baggie, laptop in a separate case thankyouverymuch) definitely go for the expert lane to save yourself some hassle.