You May Soon Be Able to Screen Yourself at Airports

The new security portal promises a hands-off approach to screening.
A TSA agent examines a passenger for any remaining dignity.
A TSA agent examines a passenger for any remaining dignity. / Scott Olson/GettyImages
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Bagging your own food at grocery stores was only the beginning. Soon, some travelers may be able to screen themselves at airport security checkpoints.

According to Condé Nast Traveler, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is preparing to debut a new screening procedure at the Las Vegas Harry Reid International Airport in January that will significantly minimize the role of TSA agents: Instead of being guided by officers to deposit luggage and move in a line, passengers who have registered with TSA PreCheck—a government-run program that verifies passenger information in advance of travel—will enter a more autonomous area in which they submit to a body scan and then head directly for their boarding gate.

The area will have prompts instructing passengers to remove any objects from their pockets that fail to pass the scan and try again. If successful, the passenger will be reunited with their baggage—which will also be screened—and can go on their way. Manual pat-downs and other interactions with the TSA are expected to be minimized. And because the lanes will use sensitive CT scanners, things like electronic devices and liquids can be left in baggage.

“Like self-ordering kiosks at fast food and sit-down restaurants, self-service screening allows passengers in the Trusted Traveler Program to complete the security screening process on their own,” Screening at Speed Program manager Dr. John Fortune said in a press release. “Travelers will use passenger and carry-on screening systems at individual consoles or screening lanes themselves, reducing the number of pat downs and bag inspections [officers] need to perform and freeing their time to be reallocated to the busier aspects of screening operations.”

The pilot program is one of several under consideration by the TSA, all of which are designed to ease wait times and redirect TSA officers to tasks that require more attention. If successful in Las Vegas, it’s likely the option will expand to other airports in 2024 and beyond.

[h/t Condé Nast Traveler]