Delta introduces '30 percent Faster' lanes to cut TSA wait times

Lucy Bayly
Airport contractors prepare passengers at a security checkpoint during the check-in process at at JFK airport in Queens, New York.
Brendan McDermid | Reuters

Ahead of peak summer travel season, Delta Air Lines has designed and implemented a new, faster security lane system at its home base, Atlanta airport. The "innovation lanes" can process five travelers at once and have so far resulted in 30 percent faster processing, said the airline.

The system, which debuted last week at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, was developed with the blessing of the Transportation Security Administration and funded and conceived entirely by Delta.

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Instead of funneling travelers through one long line where just one unprepared passenger can slow down the process for multiple people waiting behind, this new system processes five people at five separate "divestment points."

"You're able to move and process at the speed you're capable of, not the person in front of you," said Gil West, Delta's senior executive vice president and chief operating officer, in a company release. "It should double the productivity of every lane."

Mark Howell, a regional spokesman for the TSA, credited Delta with "helping us find solutions to bringing the wait times down."

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Delta's engineers also designed an automated bin system that returns the plastic catchalls from beyond the checkpoint back to the front of the line, eliminating the need for an agent to carry them or roll them back to their original spot. It also separates bins that require additional inspection, forwarding them to a different area so that the line can keep moving.

Now, "we own the experience for our customers," said West. "We've got our customers back."