Air travelers who can’t stand waiting in line will get some relief when Los Angeles International Airport opens its first two “innovation lanes” designed to speed security screening by up to 30%.
The two new lanes are scheduled to open at Terminal 7, home of United Airlines, by the end of this week. The Chicago-based carrier helped the Transportation Security Administration pay for the new equipment but declined to say how much it invested in the lanes.
Innovation lanes, first introduced this summer by Delta Air Lines at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, use multiple conveyor belts to allow five passengers to simultaneously unload bags, shoes and clothes into bins to be screened by the TSA.
Airline officials say the lanes speed up the TSA screening lines because the multiple conveyor belts eliminate bottlenecks caused by travelers who are slow to unload their baggage and personal items. Other passengers using the lane at the same time can simply slide their bins around the slower traveler.
In addition, the screening processes won’t be slowed by a shortage of bins because one conveyor belt is dedicated to rolling empty bins to passengers in the screening line.
The two new innovation lanes are replacing regular screening lanes used for United passengers.
The two lanes will be the first of at least nine additional innovation lanes expected to be installed at LAX by the end of next year at various terminals, according to airport officials.
TSA officials say United is working with TSA to install more of these lanes at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey this fall and Chicago O’Hare International Airport later this year.
American Airlines also has plans to team up with TSA to add such lanes at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, Miami International Airport, O’Hare and LAX.
United Chief Executive Oscar Munoz praised the new lanes, saying in an interview that he hopes they will help United better compete against its rivals for passengers at LAX, one of the busiest airports in the country.
He said he is urging employees at LAX to combine such improvements with a friendlier attitude among the staff to win over new fliers.
“You can’t do just one thing,” Munoz said.
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