TSA tests self-service security screening at Las Vegas airport

March 7, 2024

The Transportation Security Administration is rolling out a pilot program that allows passengers to complete their own security screening without the direct assistance of a transportation security officer.

The prototype at Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas will be available to passengers enrolled in TSA PreCheck starting later this month.

“This self-service prototype allows our trusted travelers to complete the screening process at their own pace,” said TSA administrator David Pekoske in a press release.

With the self-service prototype, what happens in Vegas may not stay there, as Pekoske said the TSA will “collect valuable user data and insights, and explore opportunities to apply parts of the prototype to other airport security checkpoints.”

The TSA screened a record number of passengers in 2023. This year, the number of travelers is already increasing, with traffic at U.S. airports up 6% compared with this time last year, according to a TSA press release. The increased traffic creates bottlenecks at security checkpoints at airports across the country that can cause travel delays.

Similar in concept to a self checkout, the self-screening prototype is intended to ease those long waits, making it easier for passengers to reach their flights. Passengers will be provided instructions on a video monitor. Transportation security officers will stand by to ensure screenings are completed and answer any passenger questions, but they do not need to participate in each screening directly. When a passenger is cleared, doors will open automatically, and passengers can pass through and be reunited with their luggage.

The process should also reduce the number of additional screenings and pat-down procedures that are necessary. The prototype will notify passengers if they are not passing the screening and give them a chance for corrective action, for example, removing additional items from pockets.

The prototype is the result of collaboration between the TSA and the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate. In 2021, three companies were awarded contracts to develop self-service security screening prototypes. Before installing it in Las Vegas, the first of these prototypes was tested at the TSA Systems Integration Facility in Arlington, Virginia. 

“The number of airline passengers continues to increase year-over-year, creating a need for innovative screening solutions that enhance transportation security and make traveling more efficient,” said DHS Under Secretary for Science and Technology Dr. Dimitri Kusnezov.

Following the launch of the Las Vegas prototype, the TSA will study its effectiveness and assess whether to implement the prototype at other airports around the country. The Department of Homeland Security also has other similar prototypes that are still under development.

“We are pushing the envelope with new technologies and concepts toward designing the airport of the future. Self-paced screening is one step toward building that future,” Kusnezov said.

All news and information on this site is provided by the team at Strategic Partnerships, Inc. Check out this short 1-minute video that provides a quick overview of how we work with clients.

Photo by Eric Salard

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