The announcement that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has approved new baggage scanners that could make gliding through security fast and easy—even for those without PreCheck status—had a lot of travelers Tweeting for joy this week.
“Liquids may soon be allowed in your carry-on!” posted Corniche Travel @Corniche_Travel hours after the news broke. “Faster TSA baggage scanners 1 step closer to reality,” RT’d Scott Norris @weninchina.
Yes, it’s true. New, 3-D scanners recently certified by TSA would allow security monitors to manipulate images of the insides of backpacks and suitcases to see all angles, thereby making it possible to leave laptops and jumbo-size shampoo bottles in your carry-on, without filling bins and repacking on the other side. They are similar to hospital computed tomography (CT) scanners, but include an algorithm to identify possible weapons and flag them for closer inspection. That means that in addition to decreasing wait time in line by as much as 30 percent, they could also make flying safer by narrowing the focus of manual searches.
Similar technology has long been in place for checked bags, so incorporating it for carry-ons seems a logical next step.
Touchless Fingerprint and Facial Scanning, Too
Department of Homeland Security is also testing touch-free fingerprint scanners that would take the place of a boarding pass and passport or driver’s license. Screened TSA Precheck members are using the technology at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport (ATL) and Denver International Airport (DEN). Biometric scanning is being heralded as both faster and more reliable than scanning paper documents.
Meanwhile, JetBlue and Delta are testing technology that could make your face your ticket to fly. Special camera stations match images to passport photos and give the thumbs up to board, no paper or bar code needed.
All this technology is still being beta-tested on selected routes and locations, but anything that frees up the bottleneck on the conveyor belt while keeping people safe will be welcomed in the airport and online.