Get Ready To Juggle Even More Bins at Airport Security
A bin for your shoes and jacket, a bin for your laptop, and maybe another bin for your backpack -- you can already count on using at least two or three bins in addition to your carry-on luggage at airport security. But you may have to juggle yet another bin and unpack additional large electronic devices under a potential policy change from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
As a report by ABC News explains, the TSA is currently testing a new security checkpoint procedure that requires travelers to unpack all electronic devices that are bigger than a phone and put them in a separate bin -- like you already do with laptops -- for screening. In other words, you'd have 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 change also requires separate screening for some food items, according to the report, or manual inspection by TSA personnel if you don't comply. Travelers with PreCheck won't be affected.
The TSA said the test is an effort to "declutter" baggage going through the security checkpoint and ultimately increase efficiency by reducing the number of bags that need to be inspected manually after going through the x-ray machine. It may seem related, but the change has nothing to do with the controversial electronics ban imposed on travelers from some Middle East countries, according to the report. In fact, the agency first implemented the process a year ago before expanding the test to a total of 10 airpots, including Los Angeles International Airport, Boston's Logan International Airport, and Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport, among others.
If all of this sounds tedious to you, don't worry -- the TSA said it has no immediate plans to institute the updated screening procedure at airports nationwide. On Wednesday, the agency issued the following statement to clarify the purpose of the change and its current scope.
"Over the past year, TSA has been adjusting screening procedures at select U.S. airports on a trial basis in an effort to improve screener performance at the checkpoint. There are no changes to what is allowed in carry-on bags. Travelers at select test locations may be asked to place certain electronics and other items in a separate bin for screening in an effort to de-clutter baggage. TSA will evaluate the results at these test locations to determine if any future checkpoint procedures should be altered. As we have said time and again, TSA continuously enhances and adjusts security screening procedures, both seen and unseen, to maintain the highest levels of security."
With any luck, the new screening procedure will help speed up security lines as the TSA intends. In any case, pack well and pack wisely.
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