Streamlined Security: Pittsburgh Airport's Express Lane for Solo Carry-on Travelers

Apr 10


Steve Robinson

Steve Robinson

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Travelers who manage to secure budget-friendly airfare or vacation deals often find their excitement dampened by the lengthy queues at airport security. However, Pittsburgh International Airport is now offering a perk for those who pack light: an exclusive security lane for passengers with a single carry-on. This initiative, known as the "Express Security Lane," is pioneering in the United States and aims to expedite the screening process for minimalist packers.

The Express Security Lane Initiative

Pittsburgh International Airport has introduced a novel approach to airport security that benefits passengers who travel with only one carry-on item. This "Express Security Lane" is a first in the United States,Streamlined Security: Pittsburgh Airport's Express Lane for Solo Carry-on Travelers Articles designed to provide a more efficient screening experience for those who travel light.

Carry-on Specifications

To qualify for the Express Security Lane, passengers must adhere to the carry-on size restrictions, which mandate that the item must not exceed dimensions of 22 inches by 14 inches by 9 inches. This size limit applies to all items considered carry-ons, including purses, briefcases, and computer cases. Notably, jackets are not counted as carry-on items.

Rationale Behind the Express Lane

The introduction of the Express Lane is a strategic response to the growing trend of passengers carrying more items through security to avoid airline baggage fees. This shift in traveler behavior has led to an increase in the number and size of bags passing through security checkpoints, placing additional strain on the screening process. By offering an expedited lane for those with a single bag, the airport aims to alleviate this burden and enhance the overall pace of passenger movement through security.

According to the Federal Security Director at Pittsburgh International Airport, the additional screening required for multiple and larger bags has been a significant factor in slowing down the security process. The Express Lane is expected to mitigate this issue and provide a smoother experience for travelers.

Impact on Holiday Travel

The Express Lane was launched in September with the anticipation that it would positively influence the flow of passengers during the busy holiday travel season. By encouraging travelers to pack more efficiently and offering a faster screening option, the airport hopes to reduce wait times and improve customer satisfaction.

The Bigger Picture: Baggage Fees and Airport Security

The implementation of baggage fees by airlines has had a notable impact on airport security operations. As more travelers opt to carry on their luggage to avoid these fees, security checkpoints have become increasingly congested. The Express Security Lane at Pittsburgh International Airport represents a proactive measure to address this challenge.

Statistics and Trends

While specific data on the effectiveness of the Express Security Lane is not yet available, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has reported that in 2019, 4.9% of passengers screened by TSA PreCheck waited less than 5 minutes. In contrast, standard security lines can have wait times exceeding 30 minutes during peak periods.

Furthermore, a study by SITA, an air transport IT and communications specialist, found that biometric technology could reduce the average passenger's airport processing time by up to 30%. Innovations like the Express Security Lane, along with advancements in technology, are part of a broader effort to streamline airport security and enhance the passenger experience.


Pittsburgh International Airport's Express Security Lane is a pioneering effort to improve the efficiency of airport security for passengers with a single carry-on. By addressing the increased load on security checkpoints due to baggage fee avoidance, this initiative represents a significant step forward in optimizing the travel experience. As the holiday season approaches, the airport's foresight may set a precedent for other airports to follow, potentially transforming the way we navigate the pre-flight process.

For more information on TSA guidelines and wait times, visit the Transportation Security Administration's official website. To learn about the latest innovations in airport security technology, check out SITA's research.