Travelers flying out of San Luis Obispo this holiday season may encounter shorter lines, thanks to an upgraded security checkpoint at the city’s new airport terminal.
The San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport got an enhanced security area when it opened its brand-new, $39.5 million facility to passengers on Nov. 2. The new terminal added about 45,000 square feet, which made room for more passengers and modern equipment.
Passengers going through security at the old terminal would sometimes wait in line for up to 20 minutes prior to boarding their flights. Now, the new checkpoint has cut wait times down to five minutes, said Lorie Dankers, a Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman.
Most of the security machines — including the metal detector, liquid scanner and explosive trace detection machine —were moved over from the old terminal. The only new piece of equipment in use is a walk-through magnetometer scanner, commonly known as a “body scanner,” that uses radio waves to detect potentially hidden devices.
The machine cuts down on the number of pat-downs TSA officers conduct, especially for passengers with metal medical devices that always set off metal detectors, Dankers said.
Aside from the body scanner, the main feature of the new security area is additional space. The checkpoint now has room for three identification-checking stations. Tables and rollers were also added to the carry-on baggage screening station, so passengers have more room to place their belongings on trays before sliding them into the machine.
In addition, TSA PreCheck passengers — those who pay a fee and go through a background check to avoid some security measures — can now use a separate line.
“Airports built after 9/11 have space made for the security screening processes,” Dankers said. “This is really what you’ll see across the country as new airports are being built.”