New security scanners which provide a less claustrophobic experience than current equipment are being tested by the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport, USA Today reports.

In partnership with United Airlines, TSA has set up a special checkpoint area to test the equipment alongside other expedited security procedures.

The new Advance Imaging Technology body scanners are wider than the now-familiar scanners at use in US airports, and rather than assuming a hands-over-head pose travellers are asked to stand with their arms out to the side for screening.

Processing travellers at a leisurely 200 passengers per hour, the testing area also eliminates the need to show a boarding pass; a scan of personal ID cards are used to confirm identity and flight arrangements. Laptops also can remain in bags, thanks to new 3D bag scanners.

“The security piece … is one of the portions of that passenger journey that for all of us, even myself, can be nerve-wracking,” said Jose Bonilla, director of TSA’s Innovation Task Force.

“We’re not just focusing on the next shiny hardware. We’re focusing on processes. We’re focusing on effectiveness, efficiency and utilizing those passengers that travel through those areas to give us feedback.”

If the test proves successful, the new equipment and procedures could be introduced at other US airports.