Airport security

Exit portals: Security on the way out

 

Associated Press

Now you have to pass through security to leave the airport.

Futuristic unmanned portals have replaced officers at the security exits of two small Northeast airports, adding a few seconds in a bulletproof glass pod to the end of every passenger’s trip.

The rounded exits at the Syracuse and Atlantic City, N.J., airports prevent passengers from backtracking into secure areas once they exit the plane and keep outsiders from entering through the exits.

Travelers step into the elevator-sized cylinders and wait as a door slides closed behind them. After a couple of seconds, another door opens in front with a female voice coolly instructing, “Please exit.”

“I don’t understand those doors,” says Cindy Katz of Jupiter, who came through the Atlantic City airport for the Thanksgiving holiday. “What are they supposed to do? It slows everyone down.”

They could be the wave of things to come as the Transportation Security Administration prepares to shift exit-monitoring duties to local airports next year as a way to save $88.1 million. The doors’ manufacturer, New York City-based Eagle Security Group, says it is in talks with other airports.

The technology saves airports from having to put paid security staff at the exit checkpoints.

Syracuse Aviation Commissioner Christina Callahan, whose airport installed eight portals this past fall at a total cost of about $750,000, says staffing each exit with a guard would cost about $580,000 a year.

The portals are intended to remove the potential for the kind of human error that was blamed for a 2010 breach that shut down a Newark Liberty International Airport terminal for several hours and caused worldwide flight delays after a Rutgers graduate student slipped under a rope to see his girlfriend off on her flight.

On recent evenings in both Syracuse and Atlantic City, there did not appear to be any sign of backups caused by the roughly five-second process of entering and exiting through the portals. Signs encouraged travelers to enter the pods in groups — they can accommodate up to six people at a time — rather than one by one.

A common question among passengers is whether they are being scanned somehow while closed inside.

While it is possible to equip portals with biometric scanning technology, officials say the current versions do nothing but form a barrier between the secure and nonsecure areas of the airport.

“We're not scanning anything or doing anything really,” said South Jersey Transportation Authority spokesman Kevin Rehmann. “When one side’s open, the other side’s closed. Period.”

Read more Travel stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
 <span class="cutline_leadin">A life in ruins:</span> Posters at the Hacienda Napoles ranch tell the story of slain Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, once the head of the Medellin drug cartel.

    Colombia

    In Colombia, a playground with a past

    Wandering through a decaying doorless archway, I encounter a young boy crouching on a floor of broken tiles and rubble, beneath a framed newspaper front page from May 1984. “Lara B Assassinated,” the headline blares. “State of Siege.”

  •  
Passengers on the Harmony V go on a birding adventure in a pirogue on the Gambia River, home to more than 500 species of birds.

    Gambia

    Up the river in West Africa

    The radiant sun was starting its late-afternoon descent, and I was gliding on glassy water through a Gambian archipelago of tropical rain-forest islands in a brightly painted boat, a converted ferry with an upper deck and even a soft-drink bar. Propped against pillows with my feet up, I was as comfortable as Cleopatra on her royal barge.

  •  
A communal area of the lodge at the Bivvi in Breckinridge, Colo., which opened in December.

    Travelwise

    Wow. Are you sure this is a hostel?

    On my first night in Cleveland last year, I fell asleep spooning my backpack. I maneuvered my laptop beneath my pillow and leaned my favorite red boots against the wall by my feet. For the first time in more than a decade, I was overnighting in a hostel, and I didn’t know what to expect.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK



  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category