ANALogic Machines Slow Down Airport Security, Have Worst Name Ever

These machines have been rolling out to airport security checkpoints near you.

The first thing to know about them is that they’re consistently reported to be slower than screening without them. Hopefully that’s just a training issue. They’re advertised as taking 6 seconds per bag.

TSA is using new expensive technology – TSA awarded a $781 million contract last year, following a $198 million contract in 2021, and in 2018 each machine was reported to cost $350,000 – that makes the screening process take longer while still requiring travelers to remove their shoes and take out their liquids (Europe is headed towards finally ending their participation in the War on Water).

I spent 40 minutes today clearing PreCheck at OAK. The new screening machines are 3 to 4 times slower, causing a proportionate increase in screening times. It wasn’t terrible when the 5 minute delay tripled, but spring break is a disaster.

The other thing is, could these machines seem any more Orwellian?

Even the name. The. Name. I mean, if I have to spell it out for you.

The hope is that by using these machines to allow passengers to leave liquids and electronics in their carry on bags the time per passenger in the regular (non-PreCheck) line will be reduced. Clearly somebody had to make a ton of money restoring our rights to where they were pre-August 2006, but did it really have to be Analogic considering the invasive nature of the TSA to begin with?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. […] TSA requiring more random ID checks of CLEAR passengers it’s nice not to have to take out your ID, but this still leaves CLEAR as a way to cut the PreCheck line when the former is longer than the latter (though the CLEAR process takes longer than ID verification in the PreCheck line, so unless CLEAR is substantially shorter it’s not a benefit). Either way you’ll be slowed down by new screening devices. […]

  2. […] Currently, this screening technology is solely for workers. However, it begs the question if these portals could potentially one day be extended to TSA PreCheck passengers – which would be a win-win for both safety and passenger experience. It could enhance safety by effectively detecting non-metallic weapons such as those produced by 3D printers, which conventional magnetometers struggle to identify. Moreover, it promises a smoother, faster screening process for passengers, eliminating the hassle of removing personal items and even small bags. If that were implemented, all they’d need to do to significantly increase throughput would be to do something about those horrendously slow Analogic CT scanners. […]


  1. Well, I used them (I guess) in IAD in July and there were fast, but then I got cheeky and told the screeners I had passed the age of having to take off my shoes. This was one of those so-called random assignments to regular screening despite having Global, Pre-check and Clear (which did save me some time) As for why I was “randomly” selected who knows. I always think TSA has some file on me for all my back talk.

  2. Besides the hilariously awful (a clearly thought of by a middle school boy) name, how are these different than the Smiths HI-SCAN 6040 CTiX that I’ve been seeing for almost two years. These also have the capability of scanning in 3D and don’t require removal of electronics or liquids? I can vouch for this as I see and use them several times a week at most US airports.

    These too, seem to be much slower (operator issue, not machine) than the standard, btw.

  3. I went through AMS a couple of weeks ago and it was a breeze. They were promoting the fact that you don’t have to take out liquids or remove shoes, but they hadn’t changed the rules on the amount of liquids.

  4. just got these at SBA.
    they grind the lines to a halt, as well as “cannot see through” my roller bag with television camera gear – that has been packed the same way for 6 years, and never needs to have a secondary screening at LAX, DFW, JFK, LHR, etc.

    these machines are 10 steps backwards.

  5. Been through these a couple times at BNA now and they’re as fast as advertised.

    Don’t discount the idiot factor. TSA spent a ton on gizmos and not remotely enough on people with more than two neurons.

  6. Could be training, but they def slowed things in my experience last week. Each bag was taking closer to 40 seconds for inspection, which is probably 3x longer than normal.

    I do hope they get better. Maybe the “anal” part of it is “analysis” and they’ll just hand over the decision of which bags to screen to an ML algorithm soon. It would be faster, even if the results are questionable.

  7. My experience at Terminal 3 in Ft. Lauderdale is that these took considerably longer than in the past, but maybe it is a learning curve (maybe it’s just Ft. Lauderdale). Thankfully I wasn’t greatly impacted since with Clear and Pre-check I skip to the front of the line,

  8. I get there at least 2 hours early even w Clear and Pre Check (even after 8 million miles over 40 years) since I prefer to not worry about missing a flight and can always find a lounge or at least WiFi to keep me occupied. No huge deal for me if I have to spend more time in line.

    BTW spring break, summer and Christmas holidays will be a disaster regardless so don’t fly or plan accordingly

  9. Besides the hilariously awful (and clearly thought of by a middle school boy) name, how are these different than the Smiths HI-SCAN 6040 CTiX that I’ve been seeing for almost two years These also have the capability of scanning in 3D and don’t require removal of electronics or liquids. I have my bags run through them several times a week at a lot of US airports.

    These, too, seem to be much slower (knucklehead operator issue, not machine) than the standard, btw.

    Update: they’re not different. Smiths Detection along with three other companies (including Analogics and L3) were competing for contracts with TSA since 2019.

  10. These have absolutely slowed down security lines nationwide. It’s very frustrating. Worse, precheck lines are often the most affected because of the massive decrease from previous throughput. Considering they also provide zero benefit to Precheck (who can already leave liquids in the bag), they should be removed from Precheck lines at a minimum.

    The training problem is a bad excuse. If agents are unfamiliar with the technology, then they should be trained before operating it live – setup a desktop computer with a simulation of passenger bags in the software. How hard is that to setup?
    And if it truly is a training problem, without a better training program, we have a future of randomly unpredictable lines given TSA’s heavy turnover.

    In any case, I don’t believe the training excuse and I bet these new scanners go the way of the backscatter xrays a decade ago.

  11. They have these at OAK too. Much much slower, especially for the pre-check line. Hopefully just a training issue and they will get faster.

  12. Used them at ACY. No problems that I saw. I had to laugh because the TSA screener saw my Swedish Fire in my bag. Not bad.

  13. Same issue here at my home airport, RDU. TSA pre is now nightmarishly backed up on any given day or hour. Thankfully we just got CLEAR but I still have to budget in an extra 15 minutes whereas we used to just breeze through here. I think it’s partially a training issue as I’ve notice screening times improve a bit since they were installed last year, but still slow nevertheless.

    Fun semi-related side story- I was traveling out of PHX earlier this month with my parents and both mine and my dad’s bags were flagged for extra screening (they still have the older scanners there in T4). Ended up just being a paperback book in each of our bags that set off the suspicious alarm per the agent because of the organic “paper” material… God forbid a book!

  14. Can confirm after 4+ months of these weekly, very slow as pre check. What is not clear to me is the impact on regular security. It may actually speed it up as intended. But a definite negative impact for pre. They also need to reconfigure the waiting area for bags in places where these are used because it becomes a mob of people waiting as the machines are so slow. This agents constantly yelling for people to move, but nowhere to move to.

  15. We’ve got one of these at our local regional airport, where I have a friend who is a TSA officer. I can confirm from my own experience, and on the word of the TSA officer, that these machines are much slower than the old school x ray machines. He explained it as the old machines allowing for the inspection to move at the speed of the human operator, but these new analogic machines have a minimum amount of time the machine takes to run its analysis on each bag.

    My friend did note that these machines are far more accurate at actually detecting contraband items, however. This results in more manual inspections and tests, which of course further slows down the flow of pax through security.

    Before these analogic scanners, the value of having precheck at my small local airport was questionable. Now, it’s a near necessity.

  16. A pair of earplugs inside a lipstick size metal case caused minutes of delay with one of these machines at BNA this past weekend.

  17. Literally just went thru one of these in MCO 30 mins ago. Could not get over how incredibly slowwwwwwwwww they are.

  18. The new normal. Adjust and learn to live w it. All the whining in the world won’t change things.

  19. If trying to force a lot of travelers into an appointment system — for a variety of reasons, not all related to airport/flight security — then one way to get there is to gum up the process with a revision to the utilized technology and process that just does that (i.e., slow things down, and way more painfully at peak times) and then tell people the way to avoid the mess is to register for ___, ____, and/or ____ and get sped up. Those blanks include registering for appointment slots. Don’t be surprised when we get there even more.

    The excuse of the day may be “our employees need more training/practice”, but that’s not going to disappear the problems.

  20. Went thru these recently at OAK and they were sloooow. Security theater only gets worse.

  21. So if I make a bad comment about the TSA will I be censored or put under surveillance? Maybe.

  22. Our small regional ski resort airport has these things now and heaven help them when the season ramps up. People are going to miss flights no doubt. The lady before me had her bag flagged for a suspicious object which turned out to be her ham sandwich. 10 min process with TSA agent dissecting her bag over this. I was next and complete emptying of my carryon for the mysterious “bottle “ which was my contact lens solution I’ve taken thru hundreds of screenings. Poor bottle was bomb swabbed like it was a grenade. When I rolled my eyes the supervising agent went ballistic and lectured me. Oops!

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