TSA unveils self check lanes for passengers at Vegas airport as.com2Fb22Fea2Fc0ad740c0835636a0b1513fb0bf92F29dfb0d4332f4c1c83bde4b2853e4dcd

TSA unveils self-check lanes for passengers at Vegas airport as “a step into the future.”

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Federal airport security officials unveiled passenger self-screening lanes at busy Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas on Wednesday and plan to test them for use in other cities across the country.

“How do we move into the future? This is a step,” said system designer Dimitri Kuznetsov, undersecretary for science and technology at the US Department of Homeland Security. “The interface with people makes the difference.”

The Transportation Security Administration checkpoint — initially only in Las Vegas, only for TSA PreCheck customers and only in English — has a screen with do-it-yourself instructions telling people how to get themselves and their carry-on luggage smoothly can pass through the pre-inspection. Flight screening with little or no help from uniformed TSA officers.

“We want to avoid having to pat down passengers,” said John Fortune, program manager of the Department of Homeland Security’s Screening at Speed ​​program and developer of the prototype along with Kuznetsov.

Instead of a boxy, belt-driven machine with a stack of gray trays, the futuristic-looking baggage and personal items inspection system looks like a scaled-down spaceship medical magnetic resonance imaging machine. It uses automatic tray return that disinfects trays between users with germicidal ultraviolet light.

Travelers enter a separate body-scanning booth made of clear glass with a video display inside showing how they should behave when captured using the type of “millimeter wave technology” that officials say is already in use across the country. One reporter found it sensitive enough to identify a forgotten tissue in a bag. He didn't have to take off his shoes.

“Really, one of the main goals here is to allow individuals to move through the system without necessarily having to interact directly with an officer, and to do so at their own pace,” said Christina Peach, a TSA administrator who spoke on System design was involved. “It’s also about not feeling rushed.”

Nationwide, nearly all passengers who pay to enroll in the TSA PreCheck program go through screening in 10 minutes or less, said agency spokesman R. Carter Langston, while normal screening of travelers and carry-on bags takes about 30 minutes.

Peach said eight uniformed TSA officers may be needed to staff two lanes of the new system, compared to 12 officers in the lanes today.

However, Kuznetsov and Karen Burke, TSA's federal security director in Nevada, said agents, including union members, would only be exempted from the hands-on screening to focus more on broader security concerns.

“No one is going to lose their job,” Burke said.

Fortune declined to estimate the cost of developing the system, but said the types of scanners used were similar to those already in use across the country.

Officials said they would measure how quickly travelers move through the prototype during reviews this year.

The testing will be conducted at a first-of-its-kind “innovation checkpoint” in the country that TSA opened in 2019 in a sprawling international arrivals terminal that opened in 2012 at Harry Reid Airport. It already has control lanes with notices and estimated waiting times.

“This technology change is intended for people who want to get through a checkpoint quicker,” said Keith Jeffries, a former TSA director at Los Angeles International Airport and now vice president of K2 Security Screening Group, a company that installs screening systems at shipping ports including airports. “It will be a big step, but I expect it will benefit the experienced passengers.”

In an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday, Jeffries compared the new system to self-checkout lanes introduced in the 1980s that are now common in supermarkets across the country. He recalled that some shoppers initially avoided scanning their own purchases.

“It will take time to educate the public,” he said of the TSA screening trails. “There will be a new generation of travelers who just want to get through with as little hassle and delay as possible. I think eventually we’ll see more and more of it.”

Harry Reid International Airport was the seventh busiest passenger airport in the United States in 2022, ranked behind New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport by Airports Council International. In 2023, Las Vegas Airport handled a new record of 57.6 million arriving and departing passengers.

The Transportation Security Administration reported its busiest day ever at the airport last month, screening nearly 104,000 travelers and their luggage en route to airlines on Feb. 12, a day after the NFL Super Bowl was played at Allegiant Stadium.


Associated Press writer Rebecca Santana in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.