Airport hopes to speed up security with experience levels

People in New Hampshire like to ski and hate to go through airport security – but would it help if the unpleasant task was more like the fun one?

That is the idea behind the “Black Diamond” security initiative that launches today at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.

It allows people to choose among three levels of security lanes, suited to their level of experience, with the often-frustrating reality of modern airport security. It’s likechoosing from three levels of downhill ski runs: green for beginners, blue for casual skiers and black for experts.

Everybody will still have to take off their shoes, send their laptops through the X-ray machine and be subject to random searches, but the hope is to shorten the wait leading up to that point.

The Black Diamond system was launched at airports in Denver and Salt Lake City in March, and since then the federal Transportation Security Administration has expanded it to slightly more than 20 airports around the country, including Boston Logan International Airport.

“As far as the airport is concerned, it works very well. . . . I’ve watched it since the start and it has helped,” said Phil Orlandella, director of media relations at Logan.

“You would expect everybody to go to the VIP line, but I’ve not seen that happen,” said Orlandella.

The system will be used only during busy times, such as early mornings when business travelers hit the skies.

The lines in the main lobby leading to the TSA X-ray machines will be divided in three, marked by colored signs.

Travelers can choose whichever line they want, but the hope is that signs and directions from TSA officials will get people with little kids or who need assistance, or people who haven’t been through an airport since security procedures changed after 9/11, into the green line, where they won’t slow down other people.

It should also leave a speedy route for frequent fliers who have learned to wear slip-on shoes, avoid metal jewelry and not carry anything remotely liquid-like.

Black Diamond will be offered in Manchester for 90 days, after which the airport and TSA will decide whether it’s working.

“We hope that the outcome is a less stressful and more efficient security screening process, and ultimately, a better travel experience,” Airport Director Mark Brewer said in a statement.