New airport scanners allow travelers to keep contents in carry-on during security checkpoints

TSA promises faster screenings, better security with improved machines

Ian Bush
July 23, 2018 - 3:55 pm



PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — CT scanners are common tools used by hospitals to provide images of the body. Soon, that technology will land at Philadelphia International Airport — and officials are promising passengers an easier trip through screening as well as improved security. 

Frequent flyers know the drill: Laptops, tablets — anything larger than a smartphone — go in a screening bin, along with liquids, gels and aerosols.

With CT checkpoint technology, agents can view a 3-D image of the contents of your luggage. With one finger on a touchscreen, they can spin the image 360 degrees to look past the clutter and focus in on questionable items — including a wider range of explosives.

"In perhaps five years or so, passengers won't have to take anything out of their carry-on bags," said TSA administrator David Pekoske. "What they're capable of doing is detecting a wider range of explosives, which is very important, and then a much lower weight of explosives."

American Airlines Chief Security Officer Jose Freig said the technology brings in "a new era" for security checkpoints, and the CT scanner will help speed up the screening process.

The TSA has used CT scanners for checked luggage for nearly two decades, but now the $300,000 machines have gotten small enough to be used at checkpoints. 

Philadelphia International is one of 15 U.S. airports slated to get one of the CT scanners by the end of the year, but it'll be years before all the old X-ray machines are mothballed.