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MSP Airport Security Stalls As New Checkpoint Opens

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The new checkpoint line at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport opened to plenty of criticism on its first full day. Travelers in the early morning and afternoon arrived to the airport on Friday to find long lines.

The new $17-million security checkpoint was built to create a faster security check in process with more room to gather belongings than other checkpoints.

For travelers passing through Terminal one, the new security checkpoint is a stop before their final destination. Yet, on its opening day, the screening process saw major slowdowns.

"I think it's kind of crazy," traveler Tim Sherman said. "We traveled about six times in the last year here and it's never been this long."

msp security lines
(credit: CBS)

Travelers like Tim Sherman arrived to the airport to see lines nearly halfway down the concourse. He said he waited 20 minutes before even reaching the actual checkpoint.

"It makes me feel anxious, if you're cutting it close, but we always do that two hours just in case," Sherman said.

Federal Security Director of TSA in Minnesota Cliff Van Lueven admits to a slower than expected start.

"A 40-minute line wait is a long time," he said. "Nobody wants to wait even 15 minutes, so we are cognizant of that, certainly."

Van Lueven pointed out Friday is a peak travel day and also noted the new security screening location is more obvious than the older one on the south side of the airport.

"What we have is a giant LED saying this checkpoint is open," Van Lueven said. "We think there's more coming here and then down to the south checkpoint."

Travelers said that long lines weren't the only issue -- the airport's new layout also caused confusion. When the north security checkpoint opened, two older checkpoints closed. That included Gate 4, which housed the TSA pre-check line for travelers approved for a faster screening.

"It's just going to take awhile for people to get used to it," traveler Diane Tomevi said.

TSA is promising an improvement in efficiency in the days ahead as travelers adjust to a big change.

"We're overcoming a lot of muscle memory in this terminal because not a lot is changed in Terminal one in many years," Van Leuven said.

Even with the improvements, TSA is reminding everyone that the spring break travel season is just around the corner when traffic through the airport doubles.

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