I just went through the former Dulles Diamond checkpoint downstairs at IAD. I miss the Clear line and the Dulles Diamond line. This security entrance became not-so-secret over the last year.
But, things appear to be getting better. First, the closure. The former Dulles Diamond checkpoint will close for good on September 5th. It will re-open as a regular checkpoint on September 9th upstairs near Harry’s Tap Room.
On September 25th, a second line will open alongside (again, on the upper level) that will be the new exclusive TSA Pre-check checkpoint.
There’s good and bad here. First, the good. I’m thrilled to be getting TSA Pre-check. I’ve written about it in the past as the way security used to be. Leave your shoes on, your laptop and liquids in the bag. 90 seconds from the time you hit the checkpoint until the time you walk out the other side.
Now, the bad. Pretty technical and boring if you don’t have kids, so feel free to skip. One of the features the Dulles airport authority (WMATA) touted when it started updating IAD was that a time would come when passengers never had to go upstairs to check-in. Park in daily garage 2, take the underground moving walkway to security, then down an escalator to the trains.
With this move upstairs it ensures that for at least the foreseeable future you’re changing levels at least 3 times to get to the trains. With the current checkpoint downstairs that was limited to 2 if you parked in the garage and only 1 if you parked in valet.
At a minimum, the new format means 2 if you park in Daily Garage 1 on exactly the right level. Pretty much everything else is 3 levels. Who cares? Well, as a parent, strollers have to find elevators. And, finding 3 (or possibly 4) elevators to navigate security kinda sucks.
IAD historians will recognize that this new security area wi use the age-old original escalators that used to take you to the people movers back in the 90s. They’ve been sitting idle for a decade or so, always wondered if they were going to end up using them again.