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LAX tops MIT's list of airports likely to spread a simulated pandemic

LAX Encounter restaurant

Photo by monkeytime | brachiator via Flickr Creative Commons

Encounters at Los Angeles International Airport.

Some U.S. airports have yoga rooms, some offer live music, some are known for free ping pong, and others are singled out for their likeliness to spread global pandemic. Welcome to LAX. The yellow curb is for wheezing only.

MIT researchers published in the journal PLoS ONE, the findings of a computer simulated global health crisis that points to the U.S. airports most likely to contribute to the inital spread of infectious disease.

The "early-time" spread simulation examined the first few days of a multiplying contagion, considering airport location, passenger travel behavior, connecting airport patterns, flight wait times, where the outbreak originates, and data from existing pandemic models. 

Locations implicated in early spread stage were found to be different than locations posing a high risk later in the ordeal. The observation led to the identification of three airports deemed "early-time super-spreaders": JFK in New York, LAX in Los Angeles, and HNL in Honolulu.


TSA 'PreCheck' program arrives at LAX with speedy security options

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A new, passenger pre-screening program will have travelers flying through TSA security ASAP at LAX.

The Transportation Security Administration "PreCheck" pilot program touches down at Los Angeles International Airport on Jan. 18, offering pre-approved fliers an expedited security experience. 

At check-in, PreCheck enrolled passengers will not have to go shoeless and beltless, they can leave liquids and laptops inside carry-on luggage, as they mosey a reserved fast path through the security area.

Expedited screening does not guarantee immunity from standard security restrictions, however. Random searches and unexpected measures are still a possibility.

As part of the program's application process, individuals are required to release personal information, submit to fingerprinting and background checks, and participate in a face-to-face interview.