The Reagan National Airport that you know is about to change forever.
News4 has learned that the airport expects to open brand-new security checkpoints in about a month, in time for the holiday rush.
The airport's great hall will soon end up behind the checkpoints. The feel and flow of the B and C terminals will be completely different, and travelers will have more space in the airport past security. But if you aren’t flying, you're going to lose access to a lot of what you're used to. Spots such as Ben's Chili Bowl, Legal Sea Foods and other restaurants will now be available only to ticketed passengers.
Airport officials say the new checkpoints will create "a seamless, free-flowing environment" between terminals B and C (Gates 10-45) and the airport's new 14-gate concourse (Gates 46-59), which replaced Reagan's notorious Gate 35X earlier this year.
In a sense, this is a change that’s been 20 years in the making. After 9/11, airports had to scramble to set up security checkpoints wherever they could. At Reagan, these will go away, and the airport's great hall will soon end up behind security.
"Oh wow, I never thought about that but I think it would be a definite big change," said traveler Chris McGarity. "A little more congested up at top, but overall I think it will work out."
Steve Karoly, a former TSA administrator, said many airports are now modernizing their checkpoints.
"It’s going to help the passengers out and provide them less stress, to be honest," Karoly said. "It’s always about going to the airport and they think about the checkpoint. Once they get through the checkpoint, they are going to have all that free time to go through the restaurants and the stores.”
Another traveler, Casey Hansen, called the plan "a good idea; it’s going to be quicker. And, I mean, time is money, right?"
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These new checkpoints will be coming to terminals B and C in just a few weeks. Nothing will change with the older terminal A that houses most Southwest flights.