A Self-Service TSA Security Checkpoint Could Be Coming to Your Airport

The agency has compared it to self-service technology at fast food restaurants and retail stores.

The TSA is continuing to develop the technology of airport security theater, which will hopefully one day result in shorter wait times. It's a venture of the Speed at Screening program from the agency, which is aiming to increase "security effectiveness while dramatically reducing wait times and improving the passenger experience."

The latest effort is adopting some of the service features that you'll be familiar with if you've ever ordered food from Taco Bell or checked out at Target. The agency is piloting a self-service screening option, which will first start in January in Las Vegas at the Harry Reid International Airport.

The self-service center will offer TSA PreCheck passengers the chance to go through with no more than minimal assistance from TSA officers. In renderings of the kiosk, it looks as though passengers will simply put their bags onto the conveyor belt to be screened, before walking themselves through the body scanner.

A rendering of the TSA Self Service kiosks.
Courtesy of the TSA

"Like self-ordering kiosks at fast food and sit-down restaurants, self-service screening allows passengers in the Trusted Traveler Program to complete the security screening process on their own," said Screening at Speed program manager Dr. John Fortune, in a statement. "Travelers will use passenger and carry-on screening systems at individual consoles or screening lanes themselves, reducing the number of pat downs and bag inspections."

Fortune says that one of the benefits of the self-screening program will be that it will reduce the physical contact between passengers and Transportation Security Officers. The TSOs will be trained on how to assist passengers who are going through the self-service screenings. The self-screening system was developed by Vanderlande Industries Inc., which was awarded the contract back in 2021.

Earlier this year, TSA introduced facial recognition at 16 US airports which was met with controversy and concerns about privacy. For now, most people are still experiencing more traditional forms of security checkpoints. To get through regular airport security more smoothly, the TSA has provided guidance on how to make it go as quickly as possible.

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Opheli Garcia Lawler is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. She holds a bachelor's and master's degree in Journalism from NYU's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. She's worked in digital media for eight years, and before working at Thrillist, she wrote for Mic, The Cut, The Fader, Vice, and other publications. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.