TSA Is Getting New Futuristic Scanners That May Help You Get Through Security Faster

The agency expects to start rolling out the new technology over the summer.

The Transportation Security Administration will roll out new, futuristic scanners at airport checkpoints capable of detecting prohibited items and maybe even speeding up the screening process.

The new full-size Computed Tomography (CT) x-ray systems are able to create 3D images of carry-on items, allowing officers to detect things like weapons, explosives, and other banned items, according to the agency. The new machines will also allow travelers to keep more items in their carry-on bags during screening, potentially speeding up the process.

The agency expects to start rolling out the new technology over the summer.

"These [orders] are another important step in enhancing aviation security," TSA Administrator David Pekoske said in a statement. "They provide our dedicated frontline officers with one of the best tools available to screen passenger carry-on items and also improves the passenger experience by allowing passengers to keep more items in their carry-on bags during the screening process."

CT scanner in use at BWI
Courtesy of TSA

After a 3D image is created, TSA officers will then be able to "view and rotate the image on three axes to analyze and identify any threat items that may be in a passenger's baggage."

The agency plans to order up to 469 base systems and 469 full-size systems, which feature fully-automated screening lanes and automated bin return and allow for larger passenger throughput.

While the new machines will allow passengers to keep more items in their bags, those with TSA PreCheck are already allowed to keep liquids and laptops in their bags and don't have to remove their shoes during the screening process. The program, which is one of the Department of Homeland Security's Trusted Traveler Programs and costs $85 to renew in person or $70 to renew online, also uses a designated security line.

The agency is also expanding TSA PreCheck and recently opened its first-ever international location in the Bahamas.

Travelers who don't have TSA PreCheck can expedite the security process by packing strategically, ensuring items like liquids are easily accessible, and coming prepared with all of the documents they'll need to board a flight.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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