Airport Security and How it Works

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Many people would like to know, “how does airport security work?” They recognize the threat to aviation continues today and want to ensure they remain safe while traveling. Nobody wants a repeat of September 11, 2001. Sadly, terrorists wish to do harm to Americans, so threats will never go away completely.

The terrorists on 9-11 used airplanes to kill Americans. Later, Richard Reid hid explosives in his underwear and tried to detonate them on a plane. Nobody knows what a person will try next, so every potential threat needs to be identified and addressed. The Transportation Security Administration is working to develop security technology that addresses these threats. How are they doing so today?

Airport Security

Automated Screening Lanes

Travelers appreciate having access to automated screening lanes, or ASLs, in certain airports. The lanes mean they spend less time moving through the security screening process. In the past, many tasks were handled manually. Today, travelers spend less time in lines, as they can place items in bins on stainless steel countertops. A conveyor belt moves the oversized bins, which are capable of handling large carry-on bags, through x-rays machines before returning them to passengers.

If the machines detect any potential threats, the baggage is directed to a separate area where it can undergo further screening. Passengers whose bags move through without problems can continue on their way.

In addition, this technology uses cameras that take images of the contents of the bins. These images are linked to the x-ray images of the appropriate bags. Finally, each bin receives a Radio Frequency Identification tag to follow the contents of the bin throughout the security process.

Computed Tomography

Another way the TSA is working to improve security in airports is through the use of checkpoint X-ray scanning equipment. When a person thinks of a CT scan, they bring to mind a medical procedure. Similar technology is used to scan carry-on baggage for potential threats, and this technology has been proven to be beneficial.

In the past, machines would capture images of the contents of carry-on bags in 2D. The computed tomography technology allows them to capture a 3D image that can then be rotated and viewed from all angles. This ensures no items are missed in the bags that could be dangerous to travelers.

If the machine detects anything of concern, the bag is sent to a separate area to be examined by a human. This technology is so sophisticated that agents can find explosives, even those that are liquid. This will allow travelers to keep items such as laptops and 3-1-1 liquids in their bags as they move through the screening process. At this time, only laptops may remain in carry-on bags.

These are only two of several ways the TSA is working to improve airport security. Security agents also benefit from credential authentication and biometrics technologies. Individuals want to know they can move through an airport and board their plane without fear of someone trying to harm them. However, they want to do so without difficulty and long delays. This updated technology is helpful for achieving those goals. Learn more today about how to stay safe while traveling, as everyone should arrive at their destination safely.