TSA Lines Just Got A Little Less Hellish At O'Hare

By Emma G. Gallegos in News on Nov 14, 2016 9:15PM

united-tsa.jpg
The new security lanes (Photo courtesy of United)

Here's a little bit of good news for fliers: the security lines at O'Hare are less likely to be a complete nightmare. Last spring, TSA staffing shortages caused treacherous lines at security screenings. Today American Airlines and United Airlines rolled out automated security screening lanes that are expected to help solve that problem.

The TSA says automated machines will reduce waits by 30 percent, according to CBS Chicago. The machines will automatically return bins to the beginning of the line and divert bags that need more inspection, so that it doesn't create a bottleneck. And you will no longer need to roll your stuff up the X-ray machine by hand.

Machines haven't completely taken over: TSA workers will still be reviewing images and conducting searches. There are also some new features that make workers' jobs easier: there are cameras that snap a photo of the outside of the bag to match up with its X-ray image. The bins are a little bit larger, and they have electronic tags to keep track.

United has three new automated screening lanes at Terminal 1 and the TSA Precheck checkpoint has been redesigned, according to the Sun-Times. The company brags that five passengers will be able to fill up bins at the same time and move through the checkpoint quickly, even if someone ahead of them needs more screening. They have also begun rolling out automated screening lanes to other airports.

American rolled out two automated lanes in Terminal 3 last week. American vice president Franco Tedeschi told CBS Chicago, "Our lanes have been up and running for about a week, and the feedback that we have received from our employees and customers has been overwhelmingly positive."

Hopefully this won't happen again!