Officials with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced today that it has begun installing four state-of-the-art, computed tomography (CT) X-ray scanners in the security checkpoint at Lihue Airport (LIH).
Installation of the four scanners began this week and will continue through late next week with the first unit becoming operational by the end of this week. During installation, travelers should plan to arrive at LIH more than two hours prior to flight departure due to high departing passenger volumes and installation work in the security checkpoint.
The new CT scanners will be used to screen travelers’ carry-on luggage in the security checkpoints. CT units apply a sophisticated algorithm as they generate a 3-D image of the contents of the carry-on bag. A TSA officer can manipulate the 3-D X-ray image on-screen to allow for a better view of the bag’s contents, ultimately reducing the number of bag checks that are required.
When a carry-on bag is screened through a CT scanner, travelers can leave everything in their carry-on bag, including electronics larger than a cell phone and food. The opening to the X-ray tunnel on a CT unit is slightly smaller than on a traditional X-ray unit so TSA advises travelers not to force larger items into the tunnel, but to ask a TSA officer for assistance. Another feature of the CT scanner system is every carry-on item must be placed in a bin for screening.
In addition to the CT scanners, TSA also recently installed Credential Authentication Technology (CAT) at LIH. There are currently four units in use that are able to confirm the validity of a traveler’s photo identification and confirm flight information in real-time. When travelers approach the travel document checking podium and CAT is in use, they need to hand over their photo identification to the TSA officer. CAT units are designed to identify fraudulent documents and those that have been tampered with.
“The introduction of these new technologies at LIH will raise the bar for security operations and improve the customer travel experience. For passengers departing LIH, please listen to the directions given by TSA officers since this will speed your trip through the security checkpoint,” said TSA acting Federal Security Director for Hawaii Scot Thaxton. “TSA remains committed to providing the highest level of security with the greatest efficiency. Both of these technologies help to make this happen.”
With the summer travel season upon us, TSA anticipates a sustained high number of travelers departing LIH. Travelers can expect that the security checkpoints at LIH will be extremely busy from 10:00 AM to about 2:00 PM. The busiest days to travel are Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
TSA strives to get travelers through the general security screening process in less than 30 minutes and through TSA PreCheck screening in less than 10 minutes. For those who are traveling during peak times on peak days, there will be periods during the day when the number of passengers who need to be screened may exceed the capacity of the checkpoint. These peaks are driven by the flight departure schedules determined by the airlines with the state of Hawaii’s concurrence.
TSA continues to ask travelers to arrive early and prepared for the screening experience to allow for timely completion of every step of the travel process. To help things go smoothly, please follow these tips:
Listen for guidance from TSA officers. Some people may not have traveled recently, so it is important to listen to the direction provided in the security checkpoint. There may be information on new technologies that help reduce touchpoints and make for a more streamlined and convenient passenger experience, so listen up!
Empty your pockets prior to arriving in the checkpoint. Place wallets, phones, keys, sunglasses and other loose items from your pockets inside your carry-on bag instead of placing them in a bin. This will ensure personal items are not left behind.
Follow the rule for traveling with liquids. Gels, liquids and aerosols are limited to 3.4 ounces (100 ml) or less in carry-on luggage. The general definition for this rule is that if you can spill it, spray it, pump it or pour it, then it is subject to the liquids restriction rule. Anything in quantities larger than 3.4 ounces should travel in checked baggage.
Pack smart. Travelers should be aware of the contents of their carry-on bags and make sure they are not bringing prohibited items to the security checkpoint. To determine whether an item is allowed or prohibited in carry-on luggage, download the MyTSA app and use the “Can I Bring?” feature. Another option is to contact @AskTSA on Twitter or Facebook Messenger to get answers to your travel questions.
Enroll in TSA PreCheck®. Experience a smoother screening process by enrolling in TSA PreCheck®. Eligible travelers do not need to remove shoes, belts, light outerwear, laptops, electronics larger than a cell phone or travel-size liquids from carry-on luggage.
There is an enrollment center located at Kapaa at 4-484 Kuhio Highway, Suite 1. Look for the center at the southeast corner of the parking lot. It is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon. In May 2022, 93% of travelers eligible for TSA PreCheck waited five minutes or less to be screened at airports nationwide. Another benefit of the program is that children 12 and under are permitted to use the TSA PreCheck lane when traveling with an eligible parent or guardian on the same itinerary.
Give yourself plenty of time at the airport. Extra time may be needed for parking, at airline check-in counters and in the security checkpoint. There is no substitute for arriving early and prepared.