ORLANDO, Fla. – Whatever you choose to bring through security and onto the plane now goes into a bin at the new Terminal C security checkpoint. Everything. So there’s less chance that laces or straps will get wrapped in the x-ray machine rollers.
TSA spokesperson Sari Koshetz said the bins speed up the security checkpoint process.
“Even if it’s a full-sized carry-on bag, it goes in a bin. That’s the new technology,” Koshetz said. “Put your bag in there, and it goes on its way.”
Koshetz said six people at a time can load up the bins, and they don’t have to go in order; the conveyor belt is always moving, so you don’t have to wait for someone slower in front of you.
And if a bag is set aside for additional screening, it literally moves to the side, preventing a hand-luggage hold up.
All bins are automatically recycled back to the front of the line, so there is never a wait for bins.
Koshetz said smaller crowds alone will make the new terminal and even the old ones less stressful; Terminal C will siphon away 10,000 passengers each day from jam-packed terminals A and B.
Koshetz couldn’t quantify exactly how much faster the new checkpoint will be but said the old checkpoints at terminals A and B can process about 150 people per hour per lane. The new terminal has 10 lanes.
By comparison, Terminal C’s checkpoint can process up to 200 passengers every hour.
Far below the new checkpoint, in a concrete cave at Terminal C’s ground level, six miles of baggage-handling track and the largest baggage-handling system of its kind in the country are speeding checked luggage to the tarmac.
All checked luggage is put into bins from the minute passengers drop them off at the counter or curbside.
Scott Goodwin, MCO Airport Operations Manager, said the bins are tracked throughout the entire airport.
“So at any given time, when it’s in the airport’s baggage system, we could call it up based on that radio frequency identification chip (RFID) and know if it’s close to the aircraft or still a few minutes away processing,” Goodwin said.
The bins also keep your bags bookin’ - nothing gets tangled in the conveyor belt.
“Imagine a car seat gets thrown on there, and the seat belt comes up and gets wrapped around the conveyor belt,” Goodwin said. “That could take down a conveyor belt for a period of time and stop the airport from processing.”
If a belt does break, techs can fix it in 15 minutes, not 45 like at the old terminals.
And there are actually two bin tracks, so if one goes down, the bags won’t back up.
If you check in hours early - say your cruise ship drops you off at 8 a.m. and your flight isn’t until 5 p.m. — airline agents can send your luggage to the early bag storage area, where towering robots store your stuff on shelves stacked to the ceiling until it’s time to board.
Total time from check-in to tarmac? Five minutes or less, Goodwin said. After that, it’s up to the airline and depends how quickly the baggage handlers load the plane.
MCO CEO Kevin Thibault said the state-of-the-art technology at the new $2.8 billion dollar Terminal C will shuttle passengers to planes quicker and more efficiently, and the experience will be as painless as possible.
“It’s going to change the whole passenger experience,” Thibault said. “All I can control is what is in the airport footprint. Those planes coming in and out with how they’re controlled because of air traffic control, that’s outside of our purview.”
Jetblue will be the primary domestic airline at Terminal C’s 15 new gates. The new terminal will field its first flights beginning Sept. 20.
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