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Advanced screening lanes at security checkpoints have been around for years at airports such as London Heathrow, but only recently have they started expanding into the United States — largely driven by the airlines themselves.
United Airlines is the most recent to make a push, and it started with its hub at Newark Liberty International Airport. This week, the airline announced that it had upgraded a full security checkpoint in Terminal C with advanced screening machines, bragging that it now operates the first security checkpoint in the nation entirely made up of the new technology.
The airline made a video to coincide with the launch:
Effectively, the new scanning machines automatically return plastic security bins through the checkpoint and back to passengers rather than requiring a TSA agent to stack and return the hardware manually through the line. In theory, the automatic bin return should dramatically speed up the screening process and cut down on labor for the screening agents.
You Tubers commenters, like most frequent international travelers, noticed the keen similarity between the checkpoints used in Newark and those currently used in Europe, saying “these have been used in the U.K. for years. Even small airports have them.”
Most weary passengers, however, have welcomed the changes. “Like most things with United: these new machines are innovative with the rollout being poorly explained,” reported another traveler who had already been through the checkpoints.
Moreover, the new security integration marks a turning point in American airports that so far have been resistant to integrating new checkpoint screening technologies. And to a large degree, passengers have the airlines to thank. The next challenge: Training passengers to put the bins back where they belong after they grab their belongings.
Both American and Delta Air Lines have launched similar initiatives at home airports to speed up security and advertise a better experience, though neither is as widespread as United’s integration. And even if many of the efforts seem as invested in marketing as they do in actual passenger security, in the end, airport checkpoints will end up running smoother.