TSA to Design Calm, Stress-Free Checkpoints

Posted by Seth Miller on October 28, 2013 at 8:54:48 AM EDT | Post a Comment
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Plush couches, wall art, and soothing ambient music are not what travelers typically think of when approaching the TSA screening checkpoints. For passengers at two airports, however, that's exactly what they will find, thanks to a partnership between Marriott's SpringHill Suites and SecurityPoint Media. The two have partnered up to transform the pre-screening waiting area and the post-screening recomposure area into relaxing, comfortable environments, hoping to lower the stress levels of travelers. The new checkpoint layouts are available today at the E18 checkpoint of Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport and at the E checkpoint at Charlotte-Douglass International Airport.

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The partnership shows off furnishings from the hotel chain, introducing potential customers to that offering while also helping to ease the screening process for most passengers. In a statement Craig Fowler, Marriott International's Senior Director of Brand Marketing, Select Service Brands, explained their motivation for the effort:

"SpringHill Suites delivers stylish spaces that allow guests to relax and refresh, and the idea was to extend that same hospitality to the airport security area, where so many travelers' journeys begin. We hope travelers will enjoy the unexpected and pleasant surprises they'll experience in what can often be a stressful environment."

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While waiting in line prior to screening passengers will no longer have TSA screeners barking information; the rules and reminders will be provided via recorded messages interspersed with ambient music. There will also be video displays showing TSA reminders, estimated wait times, and sponsor messages. Couches and tables comparable to a hotel lobby will greet those same customers as they exit the screening area; that should be much more comfortable than the metal benches (or nothing) commonly available.

The screening itself will not change. The TSA controls the area between the ID check and the exit of the detection machines, after which the passengers will pass back through to the new environment. SecurityPoint has the contract with the TSA to manage those areas in 41 airports and is leveraging their experience in that area to make the process more relaxing for travelers and also expand the advertising opportunities they have.

The new layout is currently set for a three month trial run after which all parties involved will evaluate the results and potentially expand the offering to other locations.

Photo credits: Courtesy of Marriott/SpringHill

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