Automated Screening Lanes come to SFO’s Terminal 3

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Local Press Release
Thursday, November 15, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO - The Transportation Security Administration joined San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and United Airlines Wednesday to unveil state-of-the-art checkpoint technology ahead of the busy holiday travel season. Located in SFO’s Terminal 3, the new Automated Screening Lanes (ASLs) incorporate innovative technology that enhances security while offering improved efficiency at security checkpoints.

“Automated Screening Lanes improve the effectiveness and efficiency of security operations at checkpoints while enhancing the traveling experience for passengers,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “I appreciate San Francisco International’s support of this new technology in Terminal 3. It will enable us to provide better security faster.”

“We are proud to be among the first U.S. airports to offer the latest advancements in passenger screening technology,” said SFO Airport Director Ivar C. Satero. "Our goal is to revolutionize the travel experience, with facilities designed to make travel easier and more enjoyable. With the introduction of Automated Screening Lanes at SFO, we take that commitment to a new level. We are grateful for our partnership with the TSA and United Airlines to make this possible.”

“The Bay Area is an epicenter of innovation, and United is excited to bring the most innovative security experience to our Bay Area customers with the launch of Automated Security Lanes at San Francisco International Airport,” said United’s California President Janet Lamkin. "Inaugurated just in time for the busy holiday travel period, these new lanes will enhance security and will allow passengers to go through screening more quickly, improving their travel experience.”

The ASLs are designed to improve the screening of passengers by automating many of the functions that were previously performed manually. The advanced screening system allows passengers to move faster and more efficiently through the security checkpoints. The ASL technology includes:

  • Stainless steel countertops that enable several passengers to place their items in bins simultaneously, reducing the need to stand in line;
  • Bins that are 25 percent larger than the bins in standard screening lanes that are large enough to hold larger carry-on bags;
  • Automated conveyor belts that draw bins into the X-ray machines, and returns the bins back to the front of the queue for passengers;
  • Carry-on bags that trigger an alarm warning of a potential threat are automatically redirected to a separate area to allow bins behind it to continue through the screening process uninterrupted;
  • Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags that are attached to each bin to allow for additional accountability of a passenger’s items as they transit throughout the security process; and
  • Cameras that capture photographic images of the contents of each bin, which are linked side-by-side to the X-ray image of a bag’s contents.

The ASLs were purchased by United Airlines and installed with SFO union labor. TSA will oversee the operation of the lanes. This pilot project will allow the Airport to conduct a study of future deployment of Automated Screening Lanes at other security checkpoint locations at SFO.

To date, TSA has overseen installation of more than 160 ASLs in TSA security checkpoints at 16 different airports including SFO.