Airport Check-in: New security checkpoints at Washington Dulles

What's new

• Washington Dulles will open new security checkpoints Tuesday, eliminating the snaking lines that have crowded the airport's main terminal lobby for years.

The checkpoints, located on the new underground mezzanine level, will house 16 lanes on the east side mostly for United Airlines' customers and eight more on the west side for other carriers. Travelers who check bags at airline counters in the main lobby can reach the checkpoint using escalators. It's also accessible directly from the ground baggage claim level for those without bags to check.

The 121,700-square-foot mezzanine is part of an ongoing $3.4 billion construction project to renovate concourses and ease crowds in the main terminal building, designed by famed architect Eero Saarinen. It also includes expanding the international arrivals building and adding a new 4-mile people-mover train system called AeroTrain.

Once AeroTrain opens later this year, passengers who clear security will descend one more level to the main station to board the train that will shuttle passengers to and from concourses.

The new security mezzanine will free up space in the Saarinen terminal, allowing passengers to roam more freely and observe planes landing and taking off. The changes will "let the building perform its function," says James Bennett, CEO of Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which runs the airport. "We'll restore Saarinen to the way it's supposed to look."

The airport's "Dulles Diamond" lane — reserved for business travelers who can proceed through security without difficulty — will remain in its current location on the baggage-claim level.

• City officials in Irvine, Calif., have approved plans for new direct bus service between Los Angeles International and the Irvine train station.

The FlyAway Bus, which is operated by the city of Los Angeles and links LAX to key regions of Southern California, currently doesn't serve Orange County, about 30 miles south of the airport and home to more than 3 million residents.

The current plan calls for the service, which will likely start later this year, to provide 12 non-stop trips per day to and from LAX. One-way fare costs $25.

•San Jose International has opened several new restaurants: The Brit, a British pub, and Le Boulanger, a bakery, in the new Terminal B Concourse; Peet's Coffee and Sora's, a sushi restaurant, in Terminal A.

•Passengers can donate blood on Monday at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, Calif. Working with the local chapter of the American Red Cross, the airport will host a Bloodmobile on the arrival level outside Terminal A from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Route news

•Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has launched service between Chicago and its hub at Abu Dhabi. It's Etihad's third destination in North America after New York and Toronto and will be operated with an Airbus A340 that can carry 240 passengers.

•Southwest Airlines says it will begin non-stop service between Denver and three cities starting Jan. 10: two daily non-stop round trips to Boston; and a daily non-stop round trip each to Spokane and Reno/Tahoe.

•AirTran will begin service to Key West, Fla., on Dec. 17 with four weekly round-trip flights from Orlando.

•United Airlines' regional operation, United Express, began service between its Chicago O'Hare hub and three cities: El Paso, Little Rock and Huntsville. Ala.

Its new service between Chicago and London, Ontario, begins Sept. 29.

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