L.A. Airports Check Out New Check-in Process

LAX, LGB passengers must present boarding passes along with their photo I.D.s before they will be waved on to the metal detectors.

By: TravelAge West Staff

Air passengers accustomed to checking in at the gate may find themselves sent back to square one the ticket counter as part of a new procedure being tested by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration.

In recent months, e-ticket printouts were accepted at the initial security checkpoints, but now passengers must present boarding passes along with their photo I.D.s before they will be waved on to the metal detectors.

“We’re trying to move selectee screening up to the checkpoint,” where security personnel and equipment already are stationed, explained Brian Turmail, an administration spokesman.

The initial participants include: American Airlines flights from Terminal 4, Los Angeles International Airport; JetBlue Airways flights from Long Beach (Calif.) Municipal Airport and Terminal 6, John F. Kennedy International Airport; Continental Airlines flights from Pier C, Newark (N.J.) Liberty International Airport; and all carriers at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines flights from Pier D, LaGuardia Airport, were added Nov. 19.

Turmail said the current practice of random security checks at the gate can delay departures. In concert with the airlines, then the administration is putting more emphasis on the initial screening.

“A bit of random gate screening still will be done,” he said, but not for every flight.

Turmail acknowledged last week that the administration Web site still said a printout was sufficient, but he said the rollout has been so smooth, “we’re moving faster than our material people.”

He added that signs and other consumer alerts will be in place soon. A check of several airport and airline Web sites last week also found outdated information.

Although the new requirement has been described as a test, Turmail said the administration’s head, Adm. James M. Loy, “would like to see this as the future of selectee screening,” so it probably will be standard practice soon.

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