Diamond Lanes at Dulles

My job puts me on the road.  A lot.  And, because I fly from DC, I’m a United Airlines Frequent Flyer.  For those of you in the know I’ve been a 1K for five years now. For those of you that don’t know what that is – let’s just say I get in a lot of airplanes. So one day Tom asked me “what is it like to travel out of DC?” and after a lengthy explanation he asked me if I would blog about it. So here goes…

Dulles is always under construction. Let’s just assume that is a constant. The benefit is that construction means that there are always new things happening and changing at the airport. Normally they fall in to the category of “oh no” or “not again”. I’m sure I will write about a few of those later.

Imagine my surprise to find a good change! Dulles has something new called the “Diamond Lanes”. These lanes are supposed to be for “frequent travelers (2 or more times a month)”. And – put down your coffee before continuing – the lines are really short! That’s because they are difficult to find. The Diamond Lanes are downstairs in arrivals (baggage claim). To find them, head over to Door 4. There, about 50 feet from the Clear lanes and the Employee lanes, is a new security section. Voila, you just found the back door.

What interested me are the rules for entry. The sign clearly states that you must be a frequent traveler (2 or more times a month), an adult, and you already have your fluids in a small plastic bag so you are ready to go. It then claims this will make it faster for the “experienced traveler”.

Being curious how they determine who can join this line, I asked the guy checking tickets how he determined if you were a “experienced traveler”. He just shrugged and said “I don’t know”. Well, I’m not surprised. The lanes don’t say anything about being a “premier member” or anything, so for right now they have to take your “experienced traveler” status on faith. In other words, if you are in on the secret, you can get a much shorter wait.

I’ll take that. In fact, considering the fun that is TSA, I’ll take any benefit I can get.

Traveling from DC will be published every Wednesday (except when the author is on the road and can’t get the internet connection to work).  Please email suggestions to jonebaker at we love dc dot com.

Jonathan Baker

came to DC, left for San Francisco, and then realized he couldn’t live without a daily fix of politics and came back. When not traveling to crazy locations, he speaks and writes for a major software house in CA.

6 thoughts on “Diamond Lanes at Dulles

  1. last time i was at an airport with the three different lines, they all converged to one TSA officer. go figure.

  2. I’ve seen these lines at Oakland airport too, right next to the lines for everyone else. Something tells me that when it gets busy in Oakland, folks look for the shortest lines, diamonds be damned.

    Glad to know that Dulles has theirs off in a different section. These will stop me from eying the Clear lines with want.

  3. Thanks for the great tip – it worked! And thanks for the feature, and the blog, for those of us that love DC.

  4. Headed out to Nigeria just now, I saw the long-ass lines for the plebeian security lines and I took a quick trip to the Diamond Lanes near baggage carousel #7.

    Oh. My. God! What a difference.

    Now that’s how security should be. I was the only one in security check, and I was through in less than a minute. Its so heaven I took a comment card and must commend the TSA – not an act I ever through I would do.