Mayor Eric Garcetti unveiled and demonstrated new automatic kiosks in LAX’s Tom Bradley International Terminal this morning. The kiosks, which have been successfully implemented in airports around the world, are meant to cut customs wait times and heighten airport security.
According to Customs and Border Protection Port Director of LAX Todd Hoffman, the kiosks take the formerly time-consuming administrative busy work out of the hands of customs officers and automate it. After passengers enter their passport information electronically, they then proceed to a customs officer for a quick interview. This way, Hoffman said, agents are spending less time with administrative work and more time assessing passengers for suspicious intentions and the possibility of safety threats.
Customs agents and passengers alike feel like this heightens security. Travelers entering LAX from abroad also appreciate the dramatic decrease in wait times these kiosks offer. Carolyn Koontz, who was traveling back to Los Angeles from Australia, said the process was “quick and easy” and with “police officers everywhere,” she felt safe.
According to Mayor Garcetti, these kiosks will dramatically improve international travelers’ first impressions of Los Angeles, one of the most popular cities in the US for international visitors.
Passengers from the US, Canada, and 38 other countries where visas are waived will be allowed to use the kiosks upon their arrival at LAX. The Tom Bradley terminal is currently home to forty of these kiosks.
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