Safety First. Innovation Second.
Changing the way you wait in security lines.

Back in June, Delta funded a little experiment in the ATL to the tune of $1 million.

They were called “Innovation Lanes,” and their purpose was to combine a little engineering, a little economy of motion, and a little process analysis together to make a big difference in those TSA security lines we all love to hate.

The good news: they worked.

TSA found that each Innovation Lane can move 30% more passengers than any regular security lane.

How does an Innovation Lane Work?

If you’ve ever stood in line at a TSA security checkpoint for an ungodly amount of time (and let’s be honest, who hasn’t?) you may have already come up with some of the ideas that make the Innovation Lane work. Too bad you didn’t patent those ideas when you had the chance.

  1. Send the bins back to waiting passengers automatically.

You know that roll-y cart thing loaded with stacks of depressing gray bins that always seems to be on the far side of the conveyer belt and never at the front, where you need it? Innovation lanes have a low-level conveyer belt that automatically rolls those bins back, one at a time, easily-retrievable for waiting passengers. AND the bins are 25% larger, to fit all your stuff.

  1. Five at a time, please.

Innovation lanes can serve five waiting passengers at a time. There are five stations connected to the conveyor belt that will automatically roll all your in-transit possessions up to the x-ray machine. That means you can…

  1. Skip the Line

Do you move faster than the average bear when it comes to stripping your coat/shoes/belt and unloading your laptop/liquids? Great news, kid. No matter which station you’re at (1-5), when you’re ready you can push your gray bins onto the top-side conveyer belt and proceed to the body-scan lane. No more waiting for the (admittedly precious) family of 4 that is dealing with the stroller and the diaper bag. Now, you can sympathize with them without being stuck behind them.

Show Me.

For the visual learners in the group (note: this video is a few months old):

Who’s Next?

American Airlines wanted in on the action. They’ve teamed up with TSA to put innovation lanes in Chicago (O’Hare), Los Angeles, Miami, and soon Dallas/Fort Worth.

What Else?

IT’s called computed tomography (CT) scanning, and according to a TSA press release from July, it will be tested at Phoenix airport. The CT technology roughly translates to a smarter scan – which means you can leave your liquids and laptops in your carry-on.


Safety First. Innovation Second.

The biggest takeaway: you’re still safe flying the friendly skies. Have you thanked a TSA agent today?

Image by  Matthew Smith via Unsplash
Chesley Turner

Written by Chesley Turner