TSA to tighten screening of electronics at select airports

Key Points
  • TSA will be testing enhanced screening of carry-on bags and items at nearly a dozen U.S. airports.
  • The program has the potential to be expanded to other airports nationwide.
  • The extra screening targets electronics larger than a cellphone for X-ray screening.
A sign directs travelers to a security checkpoint staffed by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) workers at O'Hare Airport in Chicago.
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If you think going through security lines at airports is already a hassle, be prepared: it could get worse.

The Transportation Security Administration is testing tighter screening of carry-on bags at 10 U.S. airports, with the potential to expand the new procedures to other airports around the country.

What's changed?

"Travelers will be asked to place electronics larger than a cellphone in a bin separately for X-ray screening. TSA officers may also advise travelers to place other carry-on items separately in a bin," said Darby LaJoye, TSA assistant administrator for security operations.

In short, the TSA believes this could be a more effective way to detect potential problems, by placing these items in separate bins for screening. These devices include tablets like iPads and e-readers.

If you are wondering if these extra procedures will slow down how long it takes to go through the security screening, the TSA says that won't be a problem.

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"Although, passengers may experience more bag checks, we are testing quicker and more targeted procedures at these locations," said LaJoye.

The move to consider tighter screening procedures comes as the Department of Homeland Security weighs extending a ban on customers carrying laptops on flights to the U.S. from Europe. Such a decision would impact millions who travel on trans-Atlantic flights every month.

At the United Airlines annual meeting in Chicago, CEO Oscar Munoz said the carrier is in touch with the Trump Administration and it is ready to implement a laptop ban on flights from Europe.

So far, it has not been given a date when a laptop ban could start.

"We understand there is a security threat out there," said Munoz.

The new procedures are being tested at the following airports:

  • Boise Airport (BOI)
  • Colorado Springs Airport (COS)
  • Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW)
  • Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL)
  • Logan International Airport (BOS)
  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
  • Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport (LBB)
  • Luis Munoz Marin International Airport (SJU)
  • McCarran International Airport (LAS)
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)

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