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UA & TSA to Modernize Airport Screening Experience for Customers at Hub Cities

UA & TSA to Modernize Airport Screening Experience for Customers at Hub Cities

Old Jul 20, 16, 3:27 pm
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UA & TSA to Modernize Airport Screening Experience for Customers at Hub Cities

United Airlines, TSA to Modernize Airport Screening Experience for Customers at Hub Cities

CHICAGO, July 20, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) today announced plans to further modernize the airport security experience at several of the airline's largest hubs, marking the latest phase of an ongoing, collaborative strategy between United and the TSA to increase efficiency at security checkpoints and provide greater convenience for customers when applying for expedited screening.

As part of a joint initiative to improve the overall screening experience for customers, United, in collaboration with the TSA, will install state-of-the-art, automated security lanes, add permanent TSA Precheck® enrollment centers at convenient locations and redesign security checkpoints at several of the airline's most-frequented hub airports.

"We are working every day with the TSA to develop and launch innovative ways to improve the airport experience for our customers," said Greg Hart, United's executive vice president and chief operations officer. "These improvements demonstrate United's commitment to use the latest technology to ensure our customers have a reliable and enjoyable experience every step of their journey."

Automated Screening Lanes
United will debut the automated lanes at Newark Liberty International Airport, the airline's premier Trans-Atlantic gateway, this fall. When United, in collaboration with the TSA, completes the installation, the entire centralized security checkpoint at Terminal C in Newark Liberty will feature 17 automated lanes. The airline plans to install additional automated lanes at its hubs in Chicago and Los Angeles later this year.

The new lanes enable up to five customers to fill their individual bins simultaneously and move through the screening process quicker, even if TSA agents need to perform additional screening on a customer further up the queue. The lanes also utilize a parallel conveyor system that automatically returns empty bins to the front of the queue.

Redesigned and Modernized Security Checkpoints
In addition to installing automated security lanes, United is building and redesigning checkpoints at several hubs throughout the airline's network that will dramatically improve the customer experience. Key initiatives include:
• Installing audio and visual enhancements utilizing cutting-edge technology in the security queuing area to provide customers with more information.
• Consolidating four checkpoints into one new, centralized checkpoint at Newark Liberty.
• Redesigning security checkpoints at Chicago O'Hare.
• Constructing a new, state-of-the-art customer check-in area and a consolidated security screening checkpoint in Terminal 7 at Los Angeles International Airport.

TSA Precheck Enrollment Centers
United and the TSA recently announced the opening of a temporary TSA Precheck enrollment center at United's signature space at Penn Station in New York City and will install a temporary enrollment center in the lobby of the Willis Tower in downtown Chicago in August. These off-airport sites will provide the airline's customers with the ability to complete the entire TSA Precheck enrollment process without needing to visit an airport location.

Later this summer, United and the TSA also plan to open permanent enrollment centers at the airline's hub airports in Chicago, Newark, Houston, Los Angeles and San Francisco, offering more customers greater convenience when applying for TSA Precheck status. United and the TSA currently have permanent TSA Precheck enrollment centers at the airline's hubs in Denver and Washington-Dulles.

Additionally, United is enabling members of its award-winning MileagePlus loyalty program to redeem miles later this summer when applying for TSA Precheck status.
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Old Jul 20, 16, 3:41 pm
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Sounds similar to the partnerships the TSA has already announced with DL and AA.

This is the first I've heard of a 'centralized' checkpoint at EWR - sounds like they are combining C1, C2 and C3 into one. That scares me a bit, considering the anecdotal reports I've heard of how that worked at MSP with DL. On the other hand, hopefully the pre-check/elite lanes will be open longer at EWR as well - the evening bank of flights is not fun anymore since at ~8, seems all checkpoints except C1 are closed, and there is no line for either pre-check or premium cabin/elite.

The automation is good - I didn't go back to re-read - don't recall seeing specifically a line on bags needing extra screening diverted away from those that are cleared, but given that seems to be the way TSA is trying to go, I take it that will be part of the modernization. Glad we're also going to see an automated belt to bring bins back - that's been around in Europe for what, 20 years now? Have no idea why that is new to TSA in 2016.
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Old Jul 20, 16, 4:06 pm
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Guess SFO doesn't rate.
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Old Jul 20, 16, 4:13 pm
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I flew through several airports in Europe and several of them had automated screening lanes. While not as fast as TSA Pre, they are a lot more efficient than what we've been living with in the US.

Of course, that system requires a lot more space. So airports who can't even string three tables end to end to make it easy for people to prepare their luggage while moving towards the conveyor belt (I'm looking at you DCA) aren't going to adopt these any time soon.
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Old Jul 20, 16, 4:23 pm
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I want this for re-entry from International flights. The IAD TSA checkpoint is horrible when coming back to the U.S.
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Old Jul 20, 16, 4:33 pm
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Originally Posted by Baze View Post
Guess SFO doesn't rate.
Wonder if it has to do with SFO having a private security company and not government employees?
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Old Jul 20, 16, 4:35 pm
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Originally Posted by nobodyherebutme View Post
I flew through several airports in Europe and several of them had automated screening lanes. While not as fast as TSA Pre, they are a lot more efficient than what we've been living with in the US.

Of course, that system requires a lot more space. So airports who can't even string three tables end to end to make it easy for people to prepare their luggage while moving towards the conveyor belt (I'm looking at you DCA) aren't going to adopt these any time soon.
Yup, this is nothing new. But I'll take it. Would be a big improvement.
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Old Jul 20, 16, 4:53 pm
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I wonder what this means for EWR GS cut-thru to front of security line?
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Old Jul 20, 16, 5:06 pm
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Originally Posted by emcampbe View Post
This is the first I've heard of a 'centralized' checkpoint at EWR - sounds like they are combining C1, C2 and C3 into one.
On first read, I took it as C2 becomes automated, but I think you're right.

As long as they bulldoze all of A, I'll be happy.

LHR's automated lanes / tray return are rather average, and of course you have the same amount of staff telling you that everything goes into a tray, not straight onto the belt, and 'use just one tray not two' and rubbish like that. I'm skeptical this will be more efficient post boarding pass verification (i.e. actually going through security), but we'll see I guess.
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Old Jul 20, 16, 5:07 pm
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According to the press release, "Consolidating four checkpoints into one new, centralized checkpoint at Newark Liberty."

Where are there FOUR checkpoints? Unless some idiot is including the checkpoint at A2, I only know of three in Terminal C.
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Old Jul 20, 16, 5:22 pm
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In DEN, the airport wants to move all the screening to the check-in level and use the current screening space for shops. I hope UA doesn't get behind that crazy plan.

Link to Denver post article about the redevelopment project

Edited to add: They are looking for redevelopment proposals at this time, so it might not include moving the security lines, but they have stated an intent to get more shopping in the great hall in the past.

Last edited by tods27; Jul 20, 16 at 5:28 pm
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Old Jul 20, 16, 5:51 pm
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Originally Posted by GSBEWR View Post
According to the press release, "Consolidating four checkpoints into one new, centralized checkpoint at Newark Liberty."

Where are there FOUR checkpoints? Unless some idiot is including the checkpoint at A2, I only know of three in Terminal C.
It's the hidden Double Secret Probation checkpoint.

I wonder if replacing the maroon coats (or is it blue now?) with automated sensors is part of the plan?
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Old Jul 20, 16, 5:52 pm
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Lines have been so long at a couple of UA hubs (ORD, EWR) that it makes sense that the airline is taking matters into their own hands and offering to invest. TSA is not going to do much on their own to improve things. I'm glad UA is thinking outside the box, personally.
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Old Jul 20, 16, 5:55 pm
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No love for us IAD folks?? Bummer...
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Old Jul 20, 16, 6:13 pm
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Originally Posted by FlyHighInTheSky View Post
No love for us IAD folks?? Bummer...
I know... at least Pre is rarely much of a wait. Even a busy Saturday morning it was a 5 minute wait (looked much worse, though).

I did see that DL and AA are working with the TSA and private contractors to develop some concepts at DCA. Shame we can't get a real investment in IAD.
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