United Airlines has installed six automated security lanes for international travelers connecting through Bush Intercontinental Airport.
These new lanes, used during the Transportation Security Administration screening, are identical to the $3.9 million lane system installed by the Houston Airport System in Terminal D.
Here’s how the lanes work: Three travelers step up to separate areas of the conveyor belt, where a bin automatically appears in an opening below that belt. Travelers remove their shoes, take laptops out of luggage and complete other typical checkpoint tasks.
They then place their bins on the conveyor belt, and their bags automatically move through X-ray screening. RFID technology is used to track and divert bags needing extra scrutiny.
If the third traveler gets his or her stuff on the conveyor belt faster than the first or second traveler, that person can skip ahead and not wait on the first or second person to finish. The luggage goes through the X-Ray machine, and TSA officers examine pictures of that bag from a separate room.
When passengers have completed the screening and removed their items from the bins, that traveler or a TSA officer will place the bin in a return receptacle. A conveyor belt carries it to the front of the line, giving TSA officers more time to focus on security rather than relocating bins.
On Thursday, United Airlines and TSA officials will demonstrate the new lanes to members of the media.