TSA technology upgrades creating temporary delays at SBN
SOUTH BEND, Ind. ---Travelers at the South Bend International Airport should expect longer wait times as new 3D scanners get installed at TSA checkpoints.
The process of getting them installed has caused long lines over the last week, which is not common for the relatively smaller airport.
“I’ve come and yeah there might be one or two in front of me but I’ve never ever waited at this airport ever,” said SBN traveler Robin Najacht.
Najacht is a frequent flyer at the at the airport, but she said this is the first time she’s ever experienced going through the security checkpoint.
“They explained they had some TSA changing going on or something some screening and stuff so we’ll experience a little waiting so I’m okay, as long as I don’t miss my flight,” she added.
“We’re installing new machines they’re called CT or computed tomography machines, these are really going to result in a better screening experience for passengers ultimately,” explained Jessica Mayle a TSA Public Affairs Specialist for the Great Lakes region.
Mayle said passengers should expect delays as they work to install two new state-of -the -art scanners that will provide 3D imaging at the airport’s security checkpoints.
“They’ll be able to see in the bags a lot better while it’s going through so that will result in fewer bag checks because we’ll be pulling fewer items that are actually okay, or that are not prohibited,” said Mayle. “Ultimately I think it will be a much more secure experience for passengers and a more efficient screening process.”
The new technology will not only help reduce touch-points amid the pandemic, but also the need for pulling bags aside and holding up passengers.
But in the meantime, Mayle reiterated that travelers should expect delays the next few days.
“First of all, get there early, we know South Bend is not a huge airport, I think people are probably used to kind of breezing through pretty quickly but that’s not going to be your experience these next few days so we’re recommending at least two hours before your flight time you should arrive,” said Mayle.
While those new scanners are being installed only one screening lane will be open for passengers with carryon bags until Friday, so officials encouraged travelers to pack their patience, check your bag if possible to get through the line easier, and arrive at least two hours before your flight leaves.
The airport has also opened at 3:45 am to allow enough time for travelers heading out with morning flights.
The installation of the new machines is expected to be complete Friday afternoon and normal operations to resume are expected to resume Saturday.