Dallas airport security checkpoint revamp aims to make screening more friendly

(CBS News) Airports around the country are working to upgrade your experience at security checkpoints. It's part of a project to make the screening process a little more friendly.

at Dallas Fort-Worth International Airport, the checkpoint has some subtle differences that officials at the airport hope will make for a better experience for travelers and for the benefit of the airport itself, CBS News' Anna Werner reports.

It's not your standard airport security checkpoint, to be sure -- there's a little mood lighting for your wait in line, and even indicators to tell you how long your wait in line will really be. It's the new look at one Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport checkpoint -- where executives say it's all about a better "checkpoint experience."

Jim Crites, vice president of operations, said the changes are because "the flying public has been begging for this."

Asked why, Crites said, "because we all know these checkpoints are one of the biggest hassles customers face. They said, 'please do something'."

A hotel group and an advertising company helped foot the bill for the experimental project. The space is wider so people move through faster. X-ray tables are longer so bags don't back up and slow down screening.

And passengers are noticing. One traveler said, "Just more organized."

Another, Jackie Vermeland, of Va., said, "This one went pretty smoothly."

Airport officials say "throughput capacity" -- how many passengers go through a checkpoint in an hour -- is key.

Crites said part of the impetus to improve the checkpoint experience is to get passengers through quicker so they'll spend more time in the shops and restaurants.

Twenty-five percent more passengers come through the experimental checkpoint in an hour than at the airport's other checkpoints. But it's not just about speed: airport research found a bad mood is bad for business. To make you feel better, when it's time to reorganize your stuff, they'll even put you on the couch.

Traveler George Renna, of Orlando, Fla., said the couch is "nice" and "feels like we're in a lounge."

After her new "checkpoint experience," Vermeland said she was happy. Asked if she felt less stressed, she said, "I do feel less stressed, yes!"

So will she spend more money at the airport? Vermeland said, "I'm hungry right now, so yes I will."

The redesigned checkpoint is a cooperative initiative between the airport and these companies and the Transportation Security Administration. Werner added on "CBS This Morning," "One of the top complaints for travelers is sometimes the TSA employees themselves, who they say are not so welcoming, so you might be saying, 'How do you fix that with this?' It turns out that the employees evidently like the checkpoint better, too. Officials at the Dallas airport say that some TSA employees have been applying to transfer from the older-style checkpoints to the new one."

Watch Anna Werner's report above.

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