Tom e-mails to recount his recent Black Diamond run:
This morning I had an opportunity to use the "Black Diamond" expert lane at MSP. Observations:
1. There wasn't any choice or self-selection. A TSA agent sized me up and instructed me to "step this way" into the expert line. By the way, I don't wear a "suit" so I'm not sure how she knew - a special school somewhere perhaps?
2. I'm not certain if the expert line was any faster. I stepped into line at the same time a fellow with a Vikings cap stepped into the casual traveler line. The guy with the Vikings cap and I arrived at the ID checkpoint at the same time. I'm not certain the number of people in either line so maybe more people went through one line or the other in the same amount of time.
3. The guy three ahead of me in the expert line put his keys, shoes, laptop, etc into the holder bins that are screwed down to the cart (the holder cart bins have six inch letters in red magic marker with the words "DO NOT USE THIS BIN!"). The barback (or whatever they call the non-TSA person who brings the cart replenished with more empty bins) was standing behind him silently while he tried to pick up the screwed down bins (oh the bonuses of a low paying job) until the guy next in line pointed out that he couldn't use those bins. The guy turned red realizing his mistake and over-apologized to the next three people he made eye contact with while he removed and reloaded his items into non-screwed down bins. This of course caused a delay.
4. I said a prayer that Agent Probert was on duty to review the expert line hold up with the fellow in observation number 3.
5. My prayer went unanswered. Given that I was departing for Philthydelphia, there is always hope that upon my return, Dave Schultz or Dave Brown or some other Broad Street Bully passed the TSA exam and will be the agent in charge over the expert line if they have one.