The widespread use of new technology promises to speed up airport security lines by no longer requiring that laptops or liquids be removed from carry-on bags.
It has now been 13 years since the carry-on liquid ban went into effect. For 13 years, passengers have had to carefully pack liquids into containers smaller than 100mL (3.5 oz) and consolidate them into a single quart-size resealable bag. For 13 years we’ve had to take those bags out and ensure nothing was accidentally left in the bag…or face even more time-consuming secondary screening. And for 13 years we’ve been annoyed by the people in front of us who seem to have never traveled before and become surprised or indignant as they fish through for bags for liquids.
And it’s not just liquids…we’ve had to take out laptops and other electronic devices and screen them in separate bins. While PreCheck has alleviated this issue for frequent travelers in the USA, this arduous (and ineffective) process continues around the world.
But computed tomography (CT) offers the chance to finally move to a more advanced, less intrusive manner of security screening. Just like in the doctor’s office, CT creates 3D images of the contents of a carry-on bag, allowing for a far more comprehensive check than current x-ray devices. The new technology will begin rolling out at more checkpoints this summer, including some of the world’s busiest airports.
- Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
- Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI)
- Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
- Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG)
- Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW)
- Houston Hobby Airport (HOU)
- Indianapolis International Airport (IND)
- John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
- Logan International Airport (BOS)
- Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
- Miami International Airport (MIA)
- Oakland International Airport (OAK)
- Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)
- Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA)
- St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL)
- Tampa International Airport (TPA)
- Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD)
London Heathrow is also acquiring machines and if the trial is successful, we will see them all over the United Kingdom within the next three years.
Chris Garton, the Chief Operating Officer of LHR, told Forbes:
Heathrow has a proud history of investing in making every journey better for our customers and that’s why we’re delighted to be rolling out our new 3D security screening machines. This cutting-edge equipment will not only keep the airport safe with the latest technology but will also mean that our future passengers can keep their focus on getting on with their journeys and spend less time preparing for security screening.
At least for now, liquids will still be limited to smaller containers. Even so, I am thrilled to see technology–especially at London Heathrow–that may speed up the screening experience while lessening the inconvenience.