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Security Checkpoints - An Idea?

Thu Jan 22, 2004 9:01 am

I thought this deserved its own thread as I was significantly off topic in the one I mentioned this on......

Does it ever bother anyone on this forum when you get to a security line- and half of the people in front of you have flights over 3 hours away- and your flight is 45 minutes from departure? Elwood 64541 (in anothe thread) mentions that arriving only 90 minutes before your flight to the airport would cause bottlenecks at security.

You know what I think causes bottlenecks (especially on 7am flights out of LGA for example)? The paranoid Smith family on their trip to disneyworld who are waiting on line in security at 6am for a 9 or 10am flight. Why don't airlines just tell these people to cool their heels until less than 2 hours prior to departure. Kind of like the way they board airplanes. There are plenty of things to do before the security checkpoint.

I am envisioning a system that would somehow allow people to pass through security based on time of departure. The must be a way of doing this. Maybe with signage, announcements, more customer service agents at checkpoints etc. Sometimes it feel like the airlines are nice at the check-in counter, then tell you essentially "we'll see you on the other side (of security)", and then service you after the TSA frisking. There is probably a gap here that could be addressed.
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RE: Security Checkpoints - An Idea?

Thu Jan 22, 2004 9:57 am

Funny you mention that... actually in FLL (for Delta anyway), there is a large ceiling mounted sign at the security checkpoint... and it reads ... screening passengers on flights departing between... If I remember correctly, the time frame it posts is about an hour and a half... so say for flights departing from 9:00AM to 10:30PM. I might be wrong on the exact length of the time frame, but it's something like that. I was curious if they actually enforce it, and to my surprise right before you enter the line, they check your boarding card. A few weeks ago when I was flying out of there, they actually stopped a few people from getting into the line because they were too early.
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RE: Security Checkpoints - An Idea?

Thu Jan 22, 2004 10:04 am

That's excellent! I have yet to see that. Maybe something that could be adopted all over the place... Kind of like how you can't check your bags in way too early for your flight.
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RE: Security Checkpoints - An Idea?

Thu Jan 22, 2004 10:18 am

Of course, you would have the remaining concessions past security not wanting this. They would say,"now you are cutting even more of our business." About the only way they get by now is the passengers that are thru really early and have nothing to do.
Personally, I am against this sort of idea. If I arrive at an airport,I would much rather waste 4 hours beyond security than have to wait for my "screening window."
I would be interested in the % of those people in line in your LGA example that are actually extremely early.
Although, there are some airports where it may work. But, like every other TSA operation, there would be inconsistency.
That is why it is nice to fly out of small airports, like Twin Falls,ID. Only max 30 people in any security line.  Smile
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RE: Security Checkpoints - An Idea?

Thu Jan 22, 2004 11:02 am

I do not think it is a good idea and that it would ultimately lead to greater congestion and confusion...once people were onto the concept that they really no longer needed to arrive at the airport early to make it thru security....guess what...lots of people would wait until the last minute and we'd be back to the same old mess with anxious people cutting it too close..

I was surprised at the comment about the concessions located past security. The truth is that, to their surprise, the concessionaires actually have come to prefer to be past security and have the captive audience waiting for their flights with nothing to do but eat, drink and buy's turned out to be a good thing for the airports and concessions. Also gives the passengers something to do.
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RE: Security Checkpoints - An Idea?

Thu Jan 22, 2004 11:23 am

I think I've seen this at Terminal 4 at JFK for AI flights, but a similar system is used at other international airports I've been to. On the departure monitors located in the concourse, each flight has a "Status" column in addition, to airline, flight no, destination, gate, etc. In Status, the options are On time, Delayed, Cancelled, Security/Immigrations, Boarding, and Departed. It has to become part of airport culture to not let passengers go to the security lines unless the status of the flight is security or boarding. Now that I recall, I think I saw this at BOM the last time I flew out of there. Of course, the BA flight my sister was taking was going stated as going through immigrations and security while the flight was pulling-up to the gate next to ours. Once you pass security at BOM, you're in the boarding lounge and there is NO going back outside to do some duty free or get a drink.

Of course, many airports like PIT and PHL rely on passengers clearing security and spending time in the concourse or at the "malls" that seem to be popping-up everywhere. Frankly, I'd rather pass security early, drink a latte, and go find a place at the end of the terminal where I can watch arrivals and departures.
You land a million planes safely, then you have one little mid-air and you never hear the end of it - Pushing Tin
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RE: Security Checkpoints - An Idea?

Thu Jan 22, 2004 12:25 pm

There are plenty of things to do before the security checkpoint.

Not necessarily so.

At DFW Terminal E, all you have before the checkpoint are the ticket counters, a handful of benches, the baggage claim, and maybe one little newstand type establishment. There are not even any restrooms on the nonsecure side!

Once you get through security, then you have the restrooms as well as some places to eat and shop. No doubt, quite a few airports are like that. I seem to remember LaGuardia being similar to this.
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RE: Security Checkpoints - An Idea?

Fri Jan 23, 2004 3:15 am

What was meant by concession comment was: If passengers are not allowed past security sooner than say 2 hours, that will give those passengers LESS time to indulge in eating, drinking, being merry,etc. That would cut into those businesses profit more than prior to 9/11/01.

Also, being at ORD last December, that is also one airport with virtually zero of anything prior to checkpoints. But at least there are restrooms!
But, I love ORD because after security, one can roam all the concourses and look around! (Except, of course, the Intl Terminal.)
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RE: Security Checkpoints - An Idea?

Fri Jan 23, 2004 4:22 am

I would suggest an express lane at security, where the only permissible items for the x-ray machine are purses and briefcases. There are people who fly out for a meeting and come home the same day. Standing behind the family with a stroller, a car seat, and several carry-ons gets annoying very fast.

By the same token, if an x-ray machine can't accept oversized items, there should be a sign inidcating that. I stood in a long line at ATL, only to find that the stroller wouldn't fit, so I had to go stand in another line.

Finally, TSA should ask if you want a screener of the same sex to wand you. My wife's shoes set off the metal detector, as she was carrying our 5-month-old son. The screeners went nuts trying to find a man to pat down the baby. Considering that my wife bathes and diapers him, I don't think a woman patting him was going to be traumatic.
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RE: Security Checkpoints - An Idea?

Fri Jan 23, 2004 4:35 am

The UAL terminal at SFO has nothing to do on the public side of security, everything is behind the gates.

If you want a drink or something while you wait you have to take the train over to the USAirways terminal to go to the Fog bank bar or whatever it's called.

Personally, I'd be resistant to this idea. Even IF you had this system I'd still want to be there early because it does not address the bottlenecking caused by people who get up to the x-ray machine and realize they have to empty their pockets, take off their belt, take their laptop out of their bag, etc. I have that all done by the time I get there.

I hate being in rushes, espically when travelling. I get there early to get through security and have enough time on the other side to get something to eat at a leisurely pace and watch planes.

If you could do those things at SFO or SJC or NRT, or any other airport I frequent before security then sure it's worh a try. Otherwise, no thanks.
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RE: Security Checkpoints - An Idea?

Fri Jan 23, 2004 4:36 am

What they need is some kind of system like most airlines have for their check-in lines. When these lines are long, most airlines will call out for people whose flights are within, say, 45 minutes. When checkpoints get busy, TSA should do this as well.

However, TSA can't simply adopt a single policy for the whole system. Nonrevman is correct -- at most airports in the South, the majority of concessions are behind the security checkpoint. These businesses depend on early-arriving passengers for much of their business. In addition, passengers would be bored out of their minds if they arrived early and were forced to wait to clear security. At other airports, mainly in the Northeast, there is plenty to do before clearing security, so a different policy could be adopted.

Ckfred is onto something here, though, and some airports/airlines have tried this express lane concept (except it is generally tied to frequent flyer status).
I usually have few carry-ons and have even purchased shoes on the basis that they don't set the metal detector off. If I don't have much, I shouldn't be forced to wait behind the 3-bag people, especially if I'm in a hurry. I'd like to see this at busy checkpoints. Unfortunately, many airports only have two lines per checkpoint, and I don't think that's enough to justify devoting one to an express lane.
"Lose" is not spelled with two o's!!!!
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RE: Security Checkpoints - An Idea?

Fri Jan 23, 2004 12:17 pm

I think you make some good points. Some airports are designed with almost everything behind security. I think where possible, it may make sense for airlines to prevent the super early guy from clogging the line. Obviously, a ones size fits all policy is probably impractical- aspecially at an airport like Denver or Atlanta.
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RE: Security Checkpoints - An Idea?

Fri Jan 23, 2004 12:34 pm


You have some good points. However too many airports are set up differently. If I can remember correctly at BWI there is not very much to do before security. However at airports like MCI where everything is before security, your idea would probably work very well.

God bless through Jesus,

God bless through Jesus, Jeff
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RE: Security Checkpoints - An Idea?

Sat Jan 24, 2004 3:57 am

Hi Petazulu,
the system you have mentioned above is the case at LHR, T1 at least. I went LHR-MUC a couple of weeks ago, and after checkin on the monitors you could see the status of your flight. Additionally the screen says "Please proceed to departures" (or something similar) some time before your plane is due to depart.
Well, anyway the waiting area was still very crowded.
Oh, and BA won't let you check in too early. We were about 10 minutes too early and after waiting in the checkin-line for about 30 minutes we were told that we can't check in yet and should return in 10 minutes. That's not the case at all airports...
Why is 10 afraid of 7? Because 7 8 9.
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RE: Security Checkpoints - An Idea?

Sat Jan 24, 2004 6:37 am

An Express line would be good....If you have less than 30 mins to get to your flight and the line is to long, then show your boarding pass and go thru security. CO has that for elite passengers and for people flying in Business first. Maybe they could arrange to have that there also.
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RE: Security Checkpoints - An Idea?

Sat Jan 24, 2004 6:45 am

It's already started with the airlines offering their FF status holders to skip major lines, the largest advantages from what I've seen being FLL and LGA.

I definitely agree with a lot of what's being talked about, but any Express Lane policy should be implemented in airports where it's been a problem. LGA and BOS on Monday mornings being two examples here, but the majority of the time it's just not needed and you're going to confuse the already overwhelmed TSA lemmings.

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