NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — It's every traveler's nightmare: You're running late for a flight and the person in front of you in the security line has taken the only two available luggage bins and is slowly putting items in, one by one.
A new system officially unveiled Monday at Newark Liberty International Airport aims to address the occasionally confusing, often frustrating experience of getting your personal items through security and out the other side. The Transportation Security Administration held a ceremonial ribbon-cutting to debut the 19-lane checkpoint in United Airlines' Terminal C.
Seventeen of the lanes feature the new system. Bins are automatically retrieved after each use and sent back to the front of the line to reduce bottlenecks.
Travelers pull the bins from underneath the conveyor belt and pack their items in a partitioned section of the belt, reducing the need to move around in search of bins.
"If you've been through a checkpoint before, you may have noticed you're waiting for a bin or you don't get a bin, and it causes congestion," said Jon Roitman, United's senior vice president of airport operations. "Now, the bin return system is absolutely automated. That's the biggest feature."
The other two lanes at the checkpoint still operate standard screening, for oversize items such as baby carriers and strollers.
The Newark airport is the first in the New York City region to have the high-tech lanes in operation. United also uses them at its hubs in Chicago and Los Angeles.