Back and Gone Again

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Atlanta Hartsfield Has Automated The TSA Process

It’s been a month or so since I last flew out of Atlanta Hartsfield. In that time a there’s been a huge change, a change with TSA. Some say change is good, but that usually comes from the person wanting the change.

                                          

The first change I noticed was that the redesign of the TSA lanes. Redesigned in such a way that each lane leads to a TSA agent. I’m guessing that they stole the lane design from Disney. If you’ve never been to Disney, their design is you do a hell a lot of back-and-forth walking thinking that you’re moving along, but not really. At the end of the line, you’ll still find yourself bunched up waiting for a TSA agent to slap those meaningless stamps on your boarding pass.

The second change that I noticed was the TSA bin system was now completely automated. No more grabbing one, two, or three bins, and then shuffling forward placing your bins on the rollers, then filling them with your worldly possessions and finally sliding the bin into the X-Ray machine. The shortcoming of that system is that the line moves as fast as the slowest person loading their bin does.

Atlanta TSA

The new system’s efficiency doesn’t rely on a person, it relies on automation. Have no fear; the roller belt is still here. Now it has two levels and it’s divided into five distinct sections for passengers. You walk up to an empty section and the lower level roller belt will have an empty gray bin waiting for you. Grab the empty bin, place it on the upper roller belt and fill it up. Once filled you push it away from you onto a second motorized roller belt that whisks it into the X-Ray machine. If you need another bin, one is already waiting for you on the lower belt, no need to grab two or three bins. Everything goes in a bin, including your carry-on luggage. The bins are longer and wider so they will hold a carry-on.

There were three TSA agents stationed behind the belt. Each providing verbal cues as confused passengers approached this new system.

What I liked about the new system

  • Everybody gets to keep his or her belts and shoes on.
  • Laptops stay in their backpacks or laptop cases.
  • No chance of running out of bins due to the automated process.
  • Passengers that need a bit more time now have that available to them. People can select any available loading area instead of waiting in line.
  • The process was much quicker, once everyone understood what need to happen.

 

What I didn’t like about the new system

  • This new design will likely cause frustration for the occasional traveler. Which will lead to many arguments, so keep your cell phone cameras ready.

 

My one recommendation is that they work with the TSA agents. They need to understand that this new procedure is going to confuse some passengers. Reinforce to the agents that barking instruction won’t make passengers understand the process any better.

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@ThomPatterson

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