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The TSA's New Electronics Rule Means You'll Have to Juggle Even More Bins

Unless you've invested in PreCheck or tend to pack light, there's a good chance your slog through the airport security line involves at least three plastic screening bins -- one for your shoes and jacket, one for your laptop, and maybe another for your backpack -- along with your carry-on bag. But on Wednesday, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced a new rule for electronics that means you'll likely have to juggle yet another bin, you know, while trying to slide off your shoes. 

The agency said US airport security checkpoints will now require you to remove all electronics larger than a phone from your carry-on bags and place them in separate bins for screening, the same thing you've been doing with laptops for years now. In other words, you'll have to remember to take out your iPad, Kindle, or other large tablets or gaming devices and add another bin to your X-ray conveyor belt train. The new security measure will be in place at all US airports in "the weeks and months ahead," TSA said in a press release. 

The move is part of TSA's efforts to address the "increased threat to aviation security" around the world, and follows successful pilot programs that tested the new procedures at 10 airports across the country. As enforcement is gradually expanded to more airports, checkpoint officers will be placed around the x-ray machines to guide passengers so as to keep the lines moving, although TSA does admit the enhanced screening could lead to more bag checks. The change doesn't affect you if you have TSA PreCheck.

"It is critical for TSA to constantly enhance and adjust security screening procedures to stay ahead of evolving threats and keep passengers safe," TSA Acting Administrator Huban A. Gowadia said in a statement. "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."

Here are the 10 airports where the requirement is already being enforced:

  • 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)

The bottom line: keep an eye out for the new requirement at your airport, prepare to juggle another screening bin, and as always, pack like a pro

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Tony Merevick is Senior News Editor at Thrillist and wonders if the new rule will be in place when he flies on Friday. Send news tips to news@thrillist.com and follow him on Twitter @tonymerevick.