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Old 01-01-2003, 08:45 AM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: IAH/HOU
Posts: 2,354
"New" security experiences in the US

I've experienced the fully qualified "new" security at IAH, TPA, and HOU in the last week.

The machines crowded the IAH check-in area enough that I was confused about where I was supposed to check-in. The "First Class / Elite" check-in signs initially pointed me to a security line, where the agent then redirected us to another line about 100 feet away where the sign should have been. After check-in, Karl and I quickly handed off our bags without incident to the TSA guy manning the detection machines. The next step was unclear, so we wandered towards the screening area and inadvertently skipped the ID / Boarding pass check somehow.

TPA was a breeze. The process seemed a little inefficient because you're required to queue for a line at check-in, then to hand off your baggage, then to enter the ticketed passenger area in front of the elevated trains to the terminals, and then again to get through security. That said, we made it from the ticket counter to our seats on our 737-900 in less than 40 minutes.

In front of the check-in counters at HOU, they don't have the explosive detection machines to run your checked baggage through. Instead, they have the machines that require a swab to be run over your bags and the swab is tested for explosive residue. It's unclear to me if these machines are temporarily in lieu of the larger machines, or if the other machines are behind the scenes.

All in all, it's been reasonably good and nowhere close to the chaos that network news predicted. If the process becomes a little more streamlined, I'll be quite satisfied.
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