TSA, United Airlines jointly installing innovative airport security technology

National Press Release
Wednesday, July 20, 2016

WASHINGTON/CHICAGO – The Transportation Security Administration and United Airlines jointly announced plans to install automated security screening lanes at select United Airlines hubs nationwide this fall.

The automated screening lanes incorporate technology that enhances security effectiveness while decreasing the time travelers spend in security screening by approximately 30 percent. TSA and United Airlines anticipate deploying the first of 17 automated lanes to Newark Liberty International Airport this fall, and plan to deploy automated lanes in Chicago O’Hare International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport later this year.

“Our main priority is to protect the traveling public in an evolving threat environment,” said TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger. “We continue to test and deploy state-of-the-art technologies to ensure that we remain current. Collaborating with United Airlines is another important step in enhancing the traveler experience while always maintaining effective security.”

“We are working every day with the TSA to develop and launch innovative ways to improve the airport experience for our customers,” said Greg Hart, United’s executive vice president and chief operations officer. “These improvements, particularly the automated security lanes, demonstrate United’s commitment to use the latest technology to ensure our customers have a reliable and enjoyable experience every step of their journey.”

The advanced equipment proposed for the automated screening lanes would offer a number of unique features designed to improve the screening of travelers by automating many of the functions currently conducted manually, allowing passengers to move more swiftly through the checkpoint. These innovations include:

  • Automated belts that draw bags into the X-ray machines, returning the bins back to queue after completion of the screening.
  • Bags with a potential threat can be directed to a separate area to allow bins behind it to continue through the system uninterrupted.
  • Property bins that are 25 percent larger than the bins in regular screening lanes.
  • Unique Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags that are attached to each bin to allow for additional accountability of items as they transit throughout the system.
  • Cameras that capture photos of the outside of the bag, which is linked to the X-ray image of the bag’s contents.

TSA continues to collaborate with vendors, airlines, airports, and across the counter-terrorism community to roll out additional automated checkpoint lanes to improve the screening process as well as help minimize wait times. TSA’s long-term goal is to incorporate enhanced capabilities at checkpoint lanes throughout the country.

“Our responsibility remains keeping passengers safe but also moving through security,” said Neffenger.