CHICAGO (WLS) —With a record 50 million people expected to travel over the week of Thanksgiving, the Transportation Security Administration unveiled new technology Thursday to get people through lines faster at Midway Airport.
TSA officials said travelers will make it through security about 50 percent faster than in the past.
The first thing travelers will notice? Larger bins. A laptop, toiletries, a pair of shoes and a jacket will all fit in one bin, instead of the usual two or three. Everything will get scanned at once, and after the bins go through and travelers retrieve their belongings, an automated system kicks the bins back to the front of the line.
Travelers will also notice a change if their bag is singled out for additional screening.
“If there’s an item that we want to take another look at in the bag, a possible threat item, the system automatically kicks that bag with a diverter arm off to the side. It goes onto a separate belt system and waits there for one of our officers to screen that bag,” said TSA’s Kevin McCarthy.
In the past, bags would stand in a queue, waiting for an officer to arrive and holding up passengers.
The new system is being launched on only two of Midway’s 17 security lanes, with the possibility for more in the future.
This new system already exists at O’Hare International Airport, where travelers may have noticed two of these automated lanes in the United Terminal and another three in the American Terminal. They were installed a year ago and TSA said they are making a difference when it comes to cutting down passenger wait time for security screenings.
TSA personnel will be on-hand during this transition to help travelers navigate the new equipment.