Tourism & Cruises

Faster airport security lanes coming to Miami?

Syndy Perez, right, helps a traveler make her way through TSA Pre-Check at Concourse D during the Thanksgiving holiday week in November 2013 at Miami International Airport.
Syndy Perez, right, helps a traveler make her way through TSA Pre-Check at Concourse D during the Thanksgiving holiday week in November 2013 at Miami International Airport. MIAMI HERALD STAFF

To meet increased demand for quicker airport processing time, the Transportation Security Administration will open a temporary enrollment center in Miami later this month for its fast-pass screening program, TSA Pre .

Passengers who sign up for the program can circumvent some security line protocols such as removing shoes, laptops, liquids, belts or light jackets at security checkpoints. Enrollment will be available from July 19 to 23 at the Hilton Miami Airport hotel near Miami International Airport.

Passengers can apply new for an appointment slot at tsa.gov/tsa-precheck/apply. Other temporary centers will also be set up in New York, Dallas, Chicago, Orlando, Los Angeles, Denver, Seattle, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Boston, Minneapolis, and Houston. The application fee is $85 and is valid for five years.

Come this fall, tales of winding airport security lines across the country may soon become even less common thanks to a joint initiative by the TSA and American Airlines to introduce new — and quicker — screening technology, the TSA also announced Tuesday.

New TSA security lanes could reduce wait times by 30 percent.

Miami International Airport will be one of four American Airlines hubs to get new automated screening lanes that are expected to reduce wait processing time by 30 percent. The others are Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport.

The initiative includes a nearly $5 million investment by American Airlines, which will hire subcontractor Eulen America to staff TSA lines and move passengers along more efficiently.

The new lanes will debut at MIA between September and late November, said an American Airlines spokeswoman. Currently, passengers wait 10 to 20 minutes in security lines at MIA, according to the airport.

Among the new features:

▪ Automated belts that draw bags through the X-ray and return the bins back to queue.

▪ Bags deemed a potential threat will be inspected in a different area from the general processing line to avoid disruptions.

▪ Bins will be 25 percent larger than bins in regular screening lanes.

▪ Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags will be attached to bins to better account for items as they are screened.

▪ Cameras that take photos of the outside of bags, which are then linked to the X-ray image of the bag’s contents.

In Phoenix, TSA and American Airlines will also deploy a pilot program by the end of the year which incorporates CT technology, currently only used to X-ray checked bags, into the security line. The technology could significantly reduce bin use and processing time.

These state-of-the-art lanes, along with new detection technology that will be tested in Phoenix, will enhance security effectiveness and efficiency, while improving the customer experience.

Robert Isom, American Airlines COO

3D CT technology could also potentially allow passengers to leave liquids, gels, aerosols and laptops in their carry-ons.

Imagine a world without the 3-1-1 liquids rule. It could become a reality: TSA plans to deploy the scanning technology at other checkpoints nationwide if the pilot is successful.

To sign up for TSA Pre :

When: July 19 to 23

Where: Hilton Miami Airport, 5101 Blue Lagoon Drive, Miami

Hours: Tuesday through Wednesday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Thursday through Saturday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Appointments: Travelers can make already make appointments at tsa.gov/tsa-precheck/apply

Fee: $85, valid for five years.

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