Airport to open new background check lane amid growing travel lines |  News, Sports, Work

Airport to open new background check lane amid growing travel lines | News, Sports, Work

Travelers wait in a huge check-in line outside Kahului Airport in June. By the end of this month, airport officials plan to add another screening lane to ease long lines and will also install a tent to shade waiting passengers from the sun. TRANSPORT DEPARTMENT photos

Officials hope a new security screening lane and a 200-foot-long tent will help provide some relief to travelers in the long, winding lines at Kahului Airport security checkpoints.

Throughout the summer, passengers streamed out of the terminal and spilled out into the sun waiting to be screened by TSA, with crowds typically gathering between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

But by the end of this month, the TSA is looking to open one more checkpoint, and airport officials plan to set up a 200-foot tent purchased by the airlines to shade passengers while they wait in lines, said Marvin Moniz, Maui Area Manager at the airports, on Thursday.

Daniel Velez, a TSA spokesman, said the TSA is in the process of installing Credential Authentication Technology, or CAT, machines at the airport. Wiring and electrical work is also carried out to facilitate the installation of the equipment, all at night when no passengers are present. The machines help screen and verify things like IDs and flight reservations, according to the TSA website.

In addition, four explosive detection canine teams that recently graduated from the TSA Canine Training Center in San Antonio, Texas, were sent to Maui and are now screening passengers and securing “additional layer of security”, Velez said.

Airport officials attribute the long lines in recent months to summer travel, increased flights and larger planes, among other factors.

Moniz said the new security checkpoint will join the single security checkpoint located next to the arrivals escalators near the baggage claim area.

He expects those two checkpoints to be used to screen TSA PreCheck passengers, which will allow the seven checkpoints next to the ticket lobby to process all other passengers. Currently, one checkpoint line next to the ticket lobby is used for TSA PreCheck.

Moniz said there are seven tapes together “it should be much faster.”

He added that the 200-foot tent had not yet arrived, but hoped it would be up around August 29.

He hopes the additional checkpoint and tent will be ready in time “the Labor Day rush.”

But in the meantime, passengers departing Maui between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. are still advised to arrive two to two and a half hours early, Moniz said. Those with flights outside these hours should arrive between an hour and 15 minutes before their flight.

Moniz said the crowds are due to a variety of reasons, such as airlines increasing their flight schedules for the summer right in that 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. window, along with airlines bringing larger planes to the airport.

During peak hours, up to 4,500 passengers may pass through security, Moniz estimated.

He said because travel to Europe and Asia is still slow, airlines bring their larger planes to Hawaii, which is the next longest route compared to those regions.

He also thinks the crowds are made worse by summer travel.

Overall, Moniz said they are seeing some delays on the lines since Thursday’s rush was done before 1 p.m. He also attributed some of the delay to travelers participating in TSA’s PreCheck, which is an expedited screening program.

The airport also has longer-term plans to add five more screening lanes on the side of the airport closer to the entrance, near the United ticketing counters.

The project is currently under design and will take about two years to become operational.

The TSA also offered tips for speeding up the security screening process, including:

• When packing, start with an empty bag. Those who do so are less likely to carry a prohibited item through a checkpoint.

• Plan your arrival time and check heavy traffic times. At the checkpoint, have a valid ID and adhere to the 3.4 oz or less liquids rule, except for hand sanitizer, which has a temporary 12 oz carry-on limit.

• Secure items in your carry-on, not in check-in bins. Retrieving items from your pockets such as phones, keys, lip balm and other items is time consuming and stressful. Keeping them in hand bags will eliminate these problems and is more hygienic.

• Enroll in TSA PreCheck at

Visit for more information.

* Melissa Tanji can be reached at [email protected]

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