Travelers who remember long security lines at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago last May have a new reason to rejoice. With new, automated security screening lanes, wait times for travelers should be reduced during the busy holiday season and beyond. In Terminal 3, American Airlines now has two automated screening lanes, and United Airlines, on Monday, unveiled three automated screening lanes in Terminal 1.
According to the Transportation Security Administration, the automated lanes should reduce wait times by 30%. Many of the tasks at screening checkpoints are automated with the system, including diverting bags that need further inspection, returning bins back and drawing bags into X-ray machines. The automated lanes also have bins that are 25% larger than those in normal screening lanes, and with multiple conveyor belts, five passengers can load their bins at the same time.
American Airlines vice president Franco Tedeschi shared that the lanes have have been running smoothly, and the feedback from both employees and travelers has been overwhelmingly positive.
Of course, this is great news for travelers who remember last May, when lines at both Midway and O'Hare were nearly three hours long, and hundreds of flyers didn't make it for their flights.
Other airports including Atlanta, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles and Miami are also testing the automated screening systems. Though, since lanes will need to be closed 1-2 weeks for construction, don't expect them to be ready in time for the upcoming holidays.