The TSA is finally testing a screening method that will allow passengers, even those without a TSA PreCheck, to keep their laptops in their bags during the process. This new screening method is being tested in Las Vegas, and if it works, it will expand throughout the nation.
This month the TSA announced the opening of a new facility on the lower level of Terminal 3 at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. The new method being tested is under the Advancing the Checkpoint Environment program, or ACE, for short.
The director of the Innovation Task Force, Jose Bonilla, stated that this new facility will allow them to assess the new technology and processes being considered.
It will also make it easy for them to make a demonstration of the unique network of capabilities without having an effect on current operations.
The usual TSA checkpoints at Terminal 3 are found in the upper level of the building, while the ACE facility can be found downstairs. For the moment, only domestic passengers flying United Airlines will be able to go through ACE lanes.
However, this will soon be expanded to other domestic and international airlines. The ACE checkpoint is open for 4 hours every day, from Sunday to Thursday.
Passengers that go through the ACE lanes can leave their laptops in their bags even if they don’t have a PreCheck and they will be able to bypass traditional checkpoints. This process also provides faster security screening because fewer passengers are processed on these lanes.
The main ACE trials involve advanced imaging machines that make use of CT tech to look into the carry-on bags of passengers.
The images are more detailed than the traditional images produced by X-ray scans, which is why it will no longer be necessary for passengers to get their things out of their bags.
Similar machines are also being tested on other airports in the country, such as JKF Terminal 7. As ACE continues being used, newer technologies and procedures will be introduced to guarantee its evolution.
In fact, one of the main objectives of the ACE facility is to allow the testing of different types of tech and processes in conjunction with each other.
Passengers going through the ACE lanes will still have to remove liquids from their bags as well as their shoes, but it may not always be the case. The procedure will evolve alongside the technology, so many more upgrades to the screening process will follow.
The feedback from passengers who have used the ACE lanes and from the agents who manage them is important to evaluate these new processes and technologies, which will help the TSA roll out these new procedures and machines more broadly.
So far, the feedback is great on the introduced innovations, so we expect to hear more about this very soon as it will eventually appear on other airports in the country.