How the ‘Checkpoint of the Future’ Could Speed You Through Airport Security

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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) unveiled its first mockup of a futuristic walkthrough screener that it says could shorten checkpoint lines and provide an even better security apparatus that would reduce the need for the much-hated airport pat down.

The Checkpoint of the Future, as the IATA has billed it, will divide the security line into three lanes. One would be for the “Known” traveler who has registered and completed background checks to get to his or her gate faster. Most air passengers would walk through the “Normal” line to be screened. A third lane, marked “Enhanced” would be reserved for those chosen randomly for extra screening or those designated as an elevated risk because of a lack of information.

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A video on the IATA website includes demos of travelers passing through the checkpoint: One woman, who appears to be going through either the Normal or Known traveler line, first has her iris scanned by an in-wall machine and then scans her passport to be verified. Next she walks through the screener, undergoing three separate scans: X-ray, metal and then liquid. Another traveler who goes through a more stringent screening line, likely the Enhanced lane, must undergo more scans on top of the aforementioned three including a body-sniffing explosive scan, shoe scan and a full-body scan. If any of the alarms are activated, the passenger must leave the scanner and be tended to by security personnel.

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The IATA believes that the screener could not only reduce security lines and anxiety about invasive screenings and patdowns, but that it could also save transportation departments across the world a lot of money. But right now it’s mostly just an idea and a cool simulation. “It’s the future we envision about five to seven years from now,” says Ken Dunlap, IATA’s global director for security and travel facilitation.

Until then, you’ll still need to strip off those belts, shoes and jackets and possibly more.

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