Even if you only travel once or twice a year, you know what a hassle airport security has become. From waiting in line, to taking off your shoes, taking your latptop out of your carry-on to walking through a full-body scanner, there’s nothing enjoyable about the experience. The travel industry is keenly aware of the fact that most travelers don’t enjoy this experience and today, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) showed its vision of what a more pleasant and efficient security checkpoint could look like.
In the IATA’s vision, travelers would walk through a “security tunnel” that would pre-screen passengers through an iris or fingerprint scan (or a passport for those not in the system yet) and then automatically x-ray their shoes and carry-on baggage as they walk through the system without having to ever put anything on a conveyor belt or even taking off your shoes. Here’s a video that shows the process in detail:
In the U.S., the TSA is already looking at allowing frequent fliers and other travelers with clean security records to bypass most of today’s security screenings, but this new system would make the whole process a lot more efficient. It would also separate passengers into known travelers who get only a basic check, as well as normal and high-risk groups who get more detailed checks then send them through the appropriate channels of these newly designed security checkpoints.
Here is how the IATA describes the basic ideas behind its vision:
“The main concepts of the Checkpoint are (1) strengthened security by focusing resources where risk is greatest, (2) supporting this risk-based approach by integrating passenger information into the checkpoint process, and (3) maximizing throughput for the vast majority of travelers who are deemed to be low risk with no compromise on security levels.”
Not everybody agrees that this is the way to go, though. Elyezer Shkedy, chief executive of El Al Israel Airlines, for example, told the Associated Press that “only technology is not the solution. You must always change your way of defending. Otherwise, terrorists will find your weak points.”
This is an interesting look at what security systems could turn out to be in airports. At first glance, IATA's vision looks incredibly pleasant, but the concerns you bring up are valid -- if it's technology, odds are it can be penetrated by a terrorist. Also, I'm concerned with how security might divide flyers into the three categories -- it seems like racial profiling may skyrocket with this vision.