D/FW AIRPORT — For passengers at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport on Wednesday, the big surprise wasn't the long-predicted delays at the new advanced screening machines.
There were none.
The surprise was that there were no delays anywhere, even though passenger traffic is up five percent.
"We're surprised," said Stephen Singh. He, his wife and child waltzed through a line waiting to go through the TSA screening machine. "We were here two hours early, so we're really surprised."
It took them less than five minutes to get through security, and they arrived at a peak time, around 4:30 p.m.
At the worst, D/FW officials said wait times stretched to six minutes. But there were other times TSA workers had no one to wait on at all.
This smooth flying is not an accident.
Five years ago, the average wait time for a security check at D/FW was close to 10 minutes. Then, the airport did a study and made some changes.
They started with signs, showing passengers the fastest way through security.
"There is a sequence and a thought process to this," airport spokesman David Magana explained. "It makes sense so as you go down the table and read all the signs; there is an order to it, and that's by design."
Better signs get people emptying their pockets sooner. Longer, double-sided tables give passengers four times as much room to load their bins.
Last year, the wait time dropped to six minutes at D/FW. Now, it's just three minutes... not bad for the world's third-busiest airport.