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Can Delta Save Us from the TSA?

Not to be outdone by American’s $4 million lifeline to the TSA, Delta has gone a step further and actually designed and implemented new security checkpoints at Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson International Airport.

Writing for Skift, Grant Martin reports that “the new checkpoints, which look very similar to systems used in many airports across Europe, allow up to five passengers at a time to step up to the conveyor belt for baggage loading an unloading, simplifying and speeding the lane throughput.” The checkpoints also use a “parallel process” system to feed emptied bins back to waiting travelers.

OK, But Will the TSA Listen?

Whether or not these redesigned checkpoints ever see widespread implementation is anyone’s guess. For now, the project seems aimed simply at proving the concept. Well, that and making Delta look good, of course—after all, the airline unsubtly dubbed its new checkpoints “innovation lanes” just to make sure it distinguished itself from the stuck-in-2008 TSA. Hey, better to be part of the solution than the problem, right?

But while Delta’s foray into security checkpoint design may have a touch of marketing to it, airlines have a lot at stake in this ongoing TSA mess. Long lines are disruptive to schedules, not to mention passengers’ moods, and it’s in the airlines’ best interests to get things smoothed out.

So if Delta’s redesigned lanes could “double the productivity of every lane,” leading to shorter lines and faster screening, as Gil West, Delta’s Senior Executive V.P. and Chief Operating Officer suggested, the TSA would have a hard time justifying the status quo. Martin writes that there are currently no concrete plans on Delta’s part to expand these new checkpoints (and certainly no plans from the TSA), but hopefully the experiment will be too successful to ignore for very long.

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