TSA and American Airlines test a new screening device for carry-on bags

A new luggage-scanning technology that increases security and speeds the screening lines may be on the way.

A computed tomography scanner, also known as a CT scanner, can not only look through your luggage for bombs or weapons but can create a 3-D image of the contents to allow screeners to rotate the image to every possible angle.

For more than a decade, the Transportation Security Administration has used CT scanners to screen checked bags but the machines have been too big and loud to use in the terminal screening areas where carry-on bags are examined. Until now.

The TSA and American Airlines began testing the use of smaller, more advanced CT scanners for carry-on luggage at one lane of Terminal 4 at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. The testing began Thursday and will continue indefinitely, with further tests at other airports likely to follow.

“We already use this type of technology for checked baggage and we expect these smaller, checkpoint-sized machines will provide the same high level of security,” TSA acting administrator Huban Gowadia said.

The scanners also use sophisticated algorithms to detect explosives, firearms and other banned items.

If the tests are successful, TSA officials say, the scanner could let travelers leave liquids, gels and laptops in carry-on bags to shorten the screening time.

hugo.martin@latimes.com

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