The Transportation Security Administration is implementing new screening procedures at airports across the nation. The TSA has been quietly testing a new screening procedure at LAX and nine other airports that more closely examines electronic devices in carry-on bags.
Electronic devices larger than a cellphone must be removed from carry-on bags and placed in a separate bin for X-ray screening. These devices include laptops, tablets like iPads, and e-readers. The devices cannot be stacked, allowing agents to view a complete x-ray of each one. TSA officers may also advise travelers to place other carry-on items separately in a bin.
TSA screeners are having problems reading X-rays of carry-on bags due to the cluttered contents. The agency believes this could be more an effective way to detect potential problems. Security officials have refused to discuss whether specific threats led to the new procedures. Darby LaJoye, TSA assistant administrator for security operations, said, “As part of our counterterrorism efforts, TSA continuously enhances and adjusts security screening procedures to stay ahead of evolving threats.”
The TSA says that the new measures won’t slow down security screenings. The agency is operating under the assumption that the time lost removing stuff from bags will be made up in faster X-ray scans. LaJoye said, “Although, passengers may experience more bag checks, we are testing quicker and more targeted procedures at these locations.”
The new screening process started in March at Los Angeles International Airport, McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, and Logan International Airport in Boston, as well as seven other airports. The 10 airports were selected to represent a variety of sizes, locations and equipment. The agency said it may roll out the new procedure at other airports nationwide.
In March, the agency imposed restrictions forbidding passengers from eight Middle Eastern and African countries from bringing electronic devices such as laptops into airplane cabins for flights. Officials are now considering extending the ban to flights from Europe to the U.S. Such a decision would impact millions who travel on trans-Atlantic flights every month.
This year’s summer travel season is expected to set new air travel records. A record 234.1 million passengers are expected to fly on U.S.-based carriers during the period, a 4 percent increase over the same period last year. The predicted increase has been attributed to improving economic conditions, higher household net worth and lower airfares.
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)