New Procedures For Screening Electronics At Airport Security. Here’s What You Need To Know

Security procedures will be changing at ALL airports in the near future.  If it happens during the busy summer travel season, you can expect it to take longer to get through security for your next flight.  Details are still emerging, but here’s what we know now:

According to the TSA announcement yesterday, all electronics larger than a cell phone will need to be removed from your bag.  Here’s the catch.  They don’t actually provide a list.  They only offer us the following:

As new procedures are phased in, TSA officers will begin to ask travelers to remove electronics larger than a cell phone from their carry-on bags and place them in a bin with nothing on top or below, similar to how laptops have been screened for years. This simple step helps TSA officers obtain a clearer X-ray image.

“It is critical for TSA to constantly enhance and adjust security screening procedures to stay ahead of evolving threats and keep passengers safe. By separating personal electronic items such as laptops, tablets, e-readers and handheld game consoles for screening, TSA officers can more closely focus on resolving alarms and stopping terror threats,” said Gowadia.

So, we know tablets, e-readers and game consoles need to come out.  Those didn’t come as a big surprise.  But, what about something like a camera or noise-canceling headphones?  View From The Wing surmises those will have to be removed as well, but I haven’t found any official indication of such.  That likely adds to the confusion.

New Procedures For Screening Electronics

These rules don’t apply for folks using the TSA Pre-Check lines.

When And Where?

So far, these procedures have been rolled out at 10 airports across the country:

  • 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 Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU)
  • McCarran International Airport (LAS)
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)

TSA officials say the rest of the country’s airports will come online with these procedures in “the weeks and months ahead.”

The Final Two Pennies

These new regulations are sure to add confusion at security checkpoints.  For starters, we’re not 100% sure what has to come out of our bags just yet.  London’s Heathrow airport is a shiny example of how this sort of uncertainty grinds security lines to a halt.  Security announcements there notes that tablets need to come out of your bag.  However, I’ve frequently been subject to secondary bag searched at Heathrow that take forever.  In those cases, the agents don’t generally explain what caused the issue.

Confusion about what needs to come out will cause travelers to slow down and ask questions.  There will be plenty of mistakes in the beginning, if not solely just because of the lack of information.  And, there will be an increase in the number of bins that need to go through x-ray.  That will lead to delays as well.

Bloomberg had an interesting quote in an article yesterday.  A spokesperson from American Airlines notes that they’re testing technology in Los Angeles and Phoenix that would allow electronics to remain in our carry-on bags. That technology can’t come soon enough.

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5 Comments

  1. I just flew through LHR with 4 laptops and a tablet. Their guidance is only two electronic devices per bin nothing else. Made it through without secondary check and a whole suitcase of of accessories that surprisingly went smoothly just a whole lot of bins to recombobulate and repack after the inspection.

  2. I have Global Entry and my laptops and iPad were swabbed all over when I was flying home the other day. They were very thorough and more focused than I’ve ever seen them.

      1. Mine was random. Went through metal detector and got buzzed. Any other time that’s happened, there hasn’t been that thorough of an inspection. Definite stepping up on the process.

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