NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — It’s every traveler’s nightmare: You’re running late for a flight and the person in front of you in the security line has taken the only two available luggage bins and is slowly putting items in, one by one.
A new system officially unveiled Monday at Newark Liberty International Airport aims to address the occasionally confusing, often frustrating experience of getting your personal items through security and out the other side.
The Transportation Security Administration held a ceremonial ribbon-cutting Monday to debut the 19-lane checkpoint in United Airlines’ Terminal C. Construction on the new system began four months ago.
Seventeen of the lanes feature the new system. Bins are automatically retrieved after each use and sent back to the front of the line to reduce bottlenecks.
Travelers pull the bins from underneath the conveyor belt and pack their items in a partitioned section of the belt, reducing the need to move around in search of bins.
“If you’ve been through a checkpoint before, you may have noticed you’re waiting for a bin or you don’t get a bin, and it causes congestion,” said Jon Roitman, United’s senior vice president of airport operations. “Now, the bin return system is absolutely automated. That’s the biggest feature.”
The other two lanes at the checkpoint still operate standard screening, for oversize items such as baby carriers and strollers.
“I’m proud to say that no airport in the country has more of these new automated screening lanes than right here at Newark Liberty, and it is already resulting in a more positive passenger experience,” said TSA’s New Jersey Federal Security Director Thomas Carter. “Our main priority is to protect passengers traveling out of Newark in an evolving threat environment.”
“At United, we pursue innovation in everything that we do, on the ground and in the air,” said Greg Hart, United’s executive vice president and chief operations officer. “The opening of our fully redesigned, state-of-the-art checkpoint in Newark – New York’s premier trans-Atlantic gateway – continues our commitment to use the latest technology to improve the airport experience for our customers.”
The Newark airport is the first in the New York City region to have the high-tech lanes in operation. United also uses them at its hubs in Chicago and Los Angeles.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)