Are the days of removing liquids, electronics and other items from carry-on bags in airport security lines almost gone? Changes coming to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York might mean that travelers will no longer need to remove items from their bags as they go through security checkpoints. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is currently testing an advanced screening tool in collaboration with American Airlines that could seriously streamline the process of going through security. TSA officials at JFK recently tested a new CT scanning machine that is capable of creating three-dimensional images of what's inside bags. TSA agents in JFK's Terminal 8 can use the tool to zoom in and rotate images of the interiors of bags as they pass through screening. In addition to providing clear views of what travelers are carrying inside their bags, the scanners are also capable of detecting explosives.
Additional trials using the new scanning technology are taking place in Phoenix and Boston as well. The TSA has plans to have 15 of its new CT scanning machines up and running across the country by the end of 2018. Authorization is in place that allows the agency to purchase up to 240 of the scanners in 2019. A person speaking on behalf of the TSA estimated that removing liquids, laptops and other objects from bags during the screening process will be a thing of the past within the next five years. The only downside is that passengers will still need to remove their shoes when they pass through security.
Airports in other countries around the world are also embracing CT scanners at security checkpoints. Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport has already conducted trials. Heathrow Airport will likely begin introducing trials using the scanners within the next year. However, the scanners will only be used in a select number of security lanes. Passengers using the airport are being told that they should still expect to remove items from their bags if they are instructed to do so by security agents.