TSA’s New Body Scanners Could Be the Key to Shorter Security Lines

Dec 18, 2018

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As the Transportation Security Administration continues to process record numbers of people traveling through airports we’ve also seen lengthy security checkpoint wait times.

On Monday, the TSA has announced a partnership with Denver International Airport (DEN) to install new body scanners that will hopefully speed up the security screening process and give passengers a less strenuous airport experience.

The TSA introduced a new Enhanced Advanced Imaging Technology (eAIT) machine at DEN last week that features “enhanced detection capabilities” in addition to quicker scanning times than currently-employed technology.

A major benefit, especially for those with mobility issues, is that passengers will no longer have to raise their hands over their heads. Instead they can now hold them at their sides in a more relaxed position. Denver’s eAIT machine’s appeared much roomer than the current, more enclosed devices you see at airports across the country.

It appears to be similar to one’s used in some European airports, like this one in Cologne, Germany:

The images of a full-body scanner can be seen on a monitor in Cologne, Germany, 15 November 2016. Authorities and air travel companies have jointly presented a new system of control for flight guests and luggage at the airport Cologne/Bonn. The security process will be adjusted accordingly, revised and combined with new technology. Photo: Oliver Berg/dpa | usage worldwide (Photo by Oliver Berg/picture alliance via Getty Images)
The images of a full-body scanner can be seen on a monitor in Cologne, Germany, 15 November 2016. (Photo by Oliver Berg/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Scans will take less than a second, and if a passenger needs additional screening, there are two more security stations that they can wait at so they won’t block other passengers coming through the checkpoint.

“This technology uses non-ionizing radio-frequency energy in the millimeter spectrum, which is safe and meets national health and safety standards,” the TSA wrote in statement.

Waiting for the scanner isn’t the only thing that holds up the line: People taking off their jackets and shoes, placing them in the security bins and waiting for them to go through the x-ray machines can cause major back-ups. However, the TSA has been working on automated security lines to allow more passengers to offload their luggage and get to their gate quicker.

So far, only one eAIT system has been placed in Denver airport at its north security checkpoint, which also features the automated screening lanes.

According to the Denver Sun, the airport paid for the new scanner itself because of its notoriously long wait lines. It’s the first airport to pilot the technology, and if tests are successful, the TSA may roll out the scanners to other airports.

“Much like the new automated screening lanes installed this fall, we will test this new screening equipment in hopes of a wider implementation once the new screening area on Level 6 is constructed,” said Denver airport CEO Kim Day.

The airport is currently undergoing a $1.8 billion renovation project that will remake the security checkpoints, check-in areas and add more food and retail outlets. TPG rated DEN as one of the worst airports of 2018.

Featured image of a body scanner in Germnay by Oliver Berg / Picture Alliance / Getty Images.

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