NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Area travelers are bracing for a busy Thanksgiving weekend filled with food, family, and frustrating travel conditions.

CBS2’s Meg Baker spoke with people at Newark Liberty International Airport who weren’t taking any chances.

“We came early, we’re three hours early just in case,” said Allison Jankunas of North Arlington, N.J.

Gail and John Hermann left a day earlier than normal and plan on coming back Saturday instead of Sunday to avoid the busiest times.

Luckily for anybody else planning on traveling through Newark Airport this week, security lines are getting a much needed boost just before the busy holiday.

The Transportation Security Administration and United Airlines have deployed the first two of a planned 17 automated screening checkpoints.

The checkpoints sutilize an automated bin return system, allowing TSA officers to focus on screening rather than running bins back and forth.

Each area will allow up to six passengers to have their bags inspected at once

 

Federal Security Director Thomas Carter calls this a marriage of effectiveness and efficiency.

“The automation that’s integrated into the system removes a lot of the tasks that the officers had to do in the past,” he adds.

The TSA adds that in addition, the bins that are used are 25 percent larger so entire roller bags can be screened.

The streamlined screening process is expected to improve time spent screening by 30 percent, according to United Airlines Vice President Rick Hoeffling.


“Multiple people can present their luggage at any one time as opposed to if you had a previous experience where you have to wait for someone,” says Hoeffling.

CBS2 reports that imilar systems have been installed in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Atlanta, and there are plans to expand the program to John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports soon.

As WCBS 880’s Kelly Waldron reports, the rest of the automated screening lanes are expected to be up and running at Newark Airport by March of 2017.

© 2016 CBS Local Digital Media

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