Syracuse airport renovation introduces new 'exit portals'

Glass-walled "exit portals" part of Syracuse airport's multi-million dollar renovations.

On the way out of Syracuse's airport terminal, the new exits get some strange looks. Paul Trudeau thought they looked like a science fiction intergalactic time machine as he passed though on his way out.

"I was expecting to get transported somewhere like on Star Trek. I was like - Yeah! We finally got there!"

Others were wondering if it was an X-ray chamber or might fill up with dollar bills like on a on game show

"It was odd, I was like - where did they come up with this?" asked Patricia Goodrich.

A robotic voice gives instructions to enter the portal and wait for the doors to close behind you. A few seconds later the outer door opens. The new exits are part of the airport's $60 million dollar renovation.

The portals are one way. If anyone tries to get back into the secure area, the door automatically locks.

"We need to be vigilant and maintain high security protocol at all times. These portals were designed and approved by TSA which is important," said Syracuse Airport Commissioner Christina Callahan.

Syracuse is one of the first airports in the country to have the new exit portals. Previously the exits were monitored by police or security guards who stood in the hallway. Callahan says security will respond to any indication of trouble in the portals but not having to staff them round the clock should save money in the long term.

"The more cost effective we become, the more attractive we are when the airlines are looking at new markets or increasing service," said Callahan.

Syracuse is the first airport in New York to have the exit portals but Callahan says they will likely be showing up around the country very soon.

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