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Coming soon: Faster airport security


Starting this summer, getting through U.S. airports will start getting not only faster but possibly less annoying, with an end to pulling out laptops, liquids and food, just like in the PreCheck lane now.

TSA has signed a contract worth $781 million for almost 1,000 new CT X-ray scanners for carry-on baggage, capable of recognizing nearly anything you might have packed and showing it to the scanning agent in rotating 3-D. A TSA spokesperson described it as "like the CT scan machines you see at the hospital. And the difference in security is really the difference between a map and a globe.”

The new machines will join ones from an earlier order that have been installed and used in testing at several airports. Similar technology is also used in processing checked bags. TSA suggests listening closely for announcements on what to leave in and what to take out as the machines are phased in.

As for scanning people: that won't change at this point; passengers without PreCheck will still need to deal with removing jackets, belts, shoes, etc. in most cases.

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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A report on ThePointsGuy website on April 4 reports complaints that the new scanners are slower than older units and are causing delays. That's especially true for travelers with PreCheck status, since they already didn't have to remove laptops and liquids to pass through security.

A TSA spokesman quoted on the website attributes the slowness to training issues, saying “As with any new technology, there is a learning curve for officers; as their proficiency increases, there is an expectation throughput will meet and exceed existing AT systems.”

The site also quotes a user at Denver who said “As a parent traveling with iPad, snacks and wet wipes I loved the new machine. I’d rather it take a little longer and not have to do all that unpacking!”

Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

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