TAMPA, Fla. - If you think you can zip through Tampa International Airport pretty quickly now, your trip could get even faster thanks to TPA's newest high-tech addition.
Starting Thursday, at the entrance to Airside A, passengers will be able to skip the manual boarding pass scan that grants them access to the terminal shuttles. Instead, they'll use the airport's first set of electronic gates.
"We are doubling our throughput from two lanes to four lanes," said John Tiliacos, vice president of operations and customer service at Tampa International Airport. "A customer will scan their boarding pass, the gate will open, the customer will proceed on through the shuttle lobby, on to the shuttle, and over to the airside."
If you're at the wrong airside, you'll get an error message. You must have an official boarding pass to get through.
The two e-gates at Airside A are part of a 30-day pilot program. After that, the plan is to add two more to Airside A, with the ultimate goal of expanding e-gates to all remaining airsides by the end of the year.
"It's yet another layer of security on top of the many layers of security we have here at the airport," said Tiliacos.
On top of e-gates, let's say you forgot your boarding pass or it's unreadable. You can handle it right there with new self-service boarding pass kiosks.
"Instead of going downstairs to our ticketing level and going to see the airline, you can simply print your boarding pass here," Tiliacos said.
For travelers with places to go, a few extra minutes or seconds can make all the difference.
"I really enjoy going through Tampa," said Bob Burwick, who was getting ready to fly to Boston. "Great idea. Anything that expedites traffic in and out of an airport is a-okay."
"What they're doing now, scanning is fast," said Bob Uhl of Homosassa. "This is going to be a lot faster, you know, it's great."
Though this streamlines the process, there will still be airport personnel at the e-gates, ready to help and monitor.
This will not affect anyone using the TPA All-Access program. The e-gate attendant will let you through with your airport-issued pass.