Take a Load Off At Airport Security Checkpoints

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I love going through security checkpoints at airports, said no one, ever. Are you passing through Dulles International Airport this summer? Springhill Suites by Marriott is aiming to offer a little relief and a stress-free experience by bringing their Comfort Zone to all three security checkpoints at Washington Dulles International Airport, including TSA Pre lanes.

Springhill Suites by Marriott launched their Comfort Zone at Charlotte Douglas and Dallas Fort Worth’s Terminal E18 checkpoint last year, and got enthusiastic feedback from travelers as well as the “Gold” award at Event Marketer Magazine’s Ex Awards ceremony for innovation.

Springhill Suites by Marriott currently has additional Comfort Zones at Chicago O’Hare and Oakland Airport, and will likely add more locations in the future.

Washington Dulles International Airport is the first to get Comfort Zones at each of the security checkpoints, before and after going through.

Loren Nalewanski, vice president and global brand manager, SpringHill Suites by Marriott said, “Travel can be tough and our goal is to help travelers start the trip with a unique and stress-free experience as they pass through one of the country’s busiest airports.”

Each pre-screening area before entering security checkpoint lanes now has soft chairs, comfortable couches, tables, wall art, and soothing music. It is intended to be an area where passengers can pull to the side and prepare their belongings before going through security.

Post-screening has a similar setup, encouraging passengers to put their shoes back on while sitting in a comfy area, re-organize their belongings and relax for a bit before continuing on to the gate.

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I think the Comfort Zones are an excellent idea. I’ve seen them but never used them myself, because I travel often and don’t allow a ton of time before boarding. When I arrive at the airport I’m already ready to go through screening. No coins in my pockets, no belt, no difficult shoes to remove or water bottles in my bag. I heft my carry-on roller bag up on the conveyor belt, walk through the metal detector (assuming I get TSA Pre) and after retrieving my bag I’m ready to go.

Security checkpoints tend to sneak up on travelers and can be a hassle though. Have you seen people kneeling on the floor in front of their fully opened up bag, while they root in there for who-knows-what? People jingle-jangle coins in their pocket while they struggle to remove a belt, or paw through a carry-on because they know there is liquid in there somewhere but they aren’t sure where. They hold up the line maybe in part because there is no area just before security to get organized. Perhaps they’d take a minute in the Comfort Zone to arrange their belongings first, and then proceed when ready.

On the other side of security, people wait for their bags or traveling companions with nowhere nice to relax. There is often no seating except on bland, hard grey benches. You’ve probably heard those announcements overhead for someone to return back to the security checkpoint to retrieve an item, and you can see people trying to redress and stuff their feet back in shoes while dodging other passengers that have been held up for a more lengthy TSA search. Bravo to Springhill Suites to bringing a bit of dignity back to the security process.

Would you use the Comfort Zones?

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