After many negative news surrounding the TSA and their checkpoint regulations there were some positive news this week as a new cooperation with American Airlines will help travelers clearing security faster.
New York JFK, Boston and Phoenix will be equipped with a total of 30 CT scanners at Terminals where American Airlines operates and passengers can leave their liquid containers inside the bags during scanning.
TSA has made headlines most recently for asking passengers to remove certain snack items from baggage that is about to be screened as organic material displays on the monitor in an irritating way.
These new CT scanners work similar to computer tomography in hospitals, taking many subsequent images from different sides, and the pictures of the suitcase are then analyzed by a computer.
Fox Channel 5 (access here) had a report about this new technology that will be rolled out soon.
The Transportation Security Administration is unveiling the latest addition to its high-tech screening arsenal, called computed tomography.
The technology is a scanner with the capability to detect new threats by providing a three-dimensional image that can be viewed and rotated for a more thorough analysis.
“It is the goal of this program to eventually allow passengers to leave their laptops and liquids in their carry-on bags, thus improving the experience,” TSA Federal Security Director John Bambury said.
The new scanners are essentially a smaller version of those currently used for checked baggage. Hundreds of images are shot with an x-ray camera that spins around a conveyor belt, applying sophisticated algorithms to detect explosives.
The technology is also expected to save travelers a lot of time by cutting down on those long lines at security checkpoints.
“The CT machines will not only assist in reducing wait times at TSA checkpoints, but will also enhance the security of all passengers traveling through the terminal,” Charles Everett, acting general manager for the Port Authority, said.
The TSA is partnering with American Airlines to introduce the scanners at select airports across the country. American said that, with more funding, the machines could become industry standard and they’re calling on lawmakers to help make that happen.
“Development of this new technology, both in the United States and abroad, is a critical component of enhanced aviation security,” American Airlines spokesperson Darryl Towns said.
In addition to John F. Kennedy Airport in New York, the new 3D scanners are also being rolled out in Boston and Phoenix.
It’s not the first time that American Airlines has partnered with the TSA or the local airport authority to improve the facilities at airports in order to satisfy their passengers and have them reach the gates faster. Such projects include Terminal 4 at LAX where AA invested a decent amount of money roughly10 years ago to modernize the Terminal.
No firm date has been announced when the scanners will be fully operational at either of these airports.
This liquid theater is now going on for almost two decades and it makes as little sense now as it made when it was introduced post 9/11 for fears large containers of liquids could contain explosives.
Apart from the point that there are plenty of substances out there that can wreak havoc even in small quantities it’s mind boggling that it took the TSA this long and external funding to finally come up with technology to keep the items inside the suitcase during screening. Of course the 100ml limitation still applies.