With all the national anger about long wait times for airline passenger screening, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration is launching an experiment at the world’s busiest airport.
On Wednesday, TSA officials will be showing CNN their new passenger screening lanes at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, aimed at speeding up a security system that many are finding insufferable.
Admit it: We hate it when the whole line stops for one suspicious bag in the X-ray machine.
It’s also annoying when you have to wait for someone to take off their shoes.
This new system promises to eliminate those pesky holdups and more.
- Bins with suspicious bags are automatically rerouted to a separate conveyor belt to keep the lanes moving.
- Baggage bins automatically recirculate after they move through the security machine, saving staff time.
- The lanes include areas where passengers can take off shoes at their own pace, which will speed up lanes.
The TSA has been talking about these ideas for years, said Chad Wolf, a former TSA assistant administrator. Nobody knows how much time the new setup will save, but the biggest time saver, Wolf said, will likely be rerouting suspicious bags.
Meanwhile, TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger told USA Today on Tuesday that the agency would start posting nearly up-to-the-minute wait times at the nation’s biggest airports on its My TSA app by the middle of next month. Currently, the app’s wait times are reported by travelers, making its accuracy sometimes less than trustworthy.
The new screening equipment – which debuted Tuesday – is similar to systems at London’s Heathrow and Amsterdam’s Schiphol, the TSA said.
Experts will compare the new lanes in Atlanta side-by-side with traditional screening lanes by gathering and analyzing data.
But don’t get your hopes too high, America.
This new system won’t fix the current wave of security line traffic jams, a TSA spokesman said.
It’s looking years ahead – more like five years from now. We’ll see how well it works.
Have you been through the new lanes at Atlanta’s airport? Tweet us about your experience at @CNNTravel. Let us know the good, the bad and how it could be improved.
CNN’s Rene Marsh contributed to this report.