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American & United Launch Automated Security Lanes in Chicago

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Today, United and American Airlines have rolled out state-of-the-art automated security checkpoints at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD). United opened a redesigned TSA Precheck security checkpoint as well as three automated lanes in O’Hare’s Terminal 1, while American opened two automated lanes in Terminal 3. American claims these new lanes will cut wait times by 30%.

The lanes utilize a parallel conveyor belt system that automatically shuttles bins throughout the process and will allow up to five customers to fill bins at once. The bins themselves are 25% larger than regular lanes and have electronic tags that enables tracking of the container. TSA agents are still involved in screening passenger’s bags through X-ray machines as well as conducting physical searches.

United says it’s the country’s only airline to have automated security lanes at multiple airports — the airline opened new lanes in Los Angeles (LAX) last month. United also plans on opening 17 automated lanes at Newark’s Terminal C before Thanksgiving. Delta opened automated checkpoints last May in Atlanta (ATL) and they were reportedly 30% more efficient than regular security lanes. Not to be left out, American has plans to roll out automated screening lanes at Dallas (DFW), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), and New York (JFK) in early 2017.

The expansion of these new security lanes is welcome news for travelers across the country, as the first half of 2016 came with insanely long security wait times, resulting in airlines hiring extra workers to help with security. Wait times have dropped since then, with 98% of passengers not having to wait longer than 30 minutes to clear security.

Featured image courtesy of American Airlines.

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