New Electronics Screening Procedures at Domestic US Airports New Electronics Screening Procedures at Domestic US Airports

New Electronics Screening Procedures at Domestic US Airports

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The TSA has announced that it will be implementing new screening procedures for electronic devices on domestic flights. We can't say we're surprised by this since the Department of Homeland Security DHS announced new security measures on all flights to the US nearly a month ago.


The New Procedures

The new procedures will treat all electronic devices larger than a cell phone in the same way that laptops are treated now. Per the TSA website

“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.”

The reasoning for implementing the new procedure was summed up by Huban A. Gowadia, TSA Acting Administrator

“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.”

The new procedures are already in place at 10 major airports in the US with the enhanced screening system being rolled out across the nation in the following few weeks. The 10 airports with the new procedures are as follows:

  • 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 Precheck Reprieve

Luckily those who are enrolled in the TSA Precheck program are exempt from the enhanced screening procedures when using TSA Precheck lanes. Even after the new screening procedures are in place, TSA Precheck enrolled passengers still benefit from the following:

  • 3-1-1 liquid rule
  • Can keep their shoes on
  • Belts, light outerwear, can be kept on
  • Laptops, electronics do not need to be removed

Out Take

Anything that increases aviation security should be welcomed; the new procedure will hopefully make everyone safer while flying. The TSA acknowledges that the new security measures will allow them to focus more on passengers who present a higher safety risk. Unfortunately, with the new procedures and possible increased delays, never has been expedited security more valuable. While you can just go through the process of applying to one of the various programs, it does cost money. However, there are several ways by which you can enroll in expedited security programs for no out of pocket cost.

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  • Donny Smith says:

    At least many of us have TSA precheck, but can’t help feeling that precheck is geared more toward making money than actually helping travelers. Either way, have zero confidence in the TSA

  • Sarah Willard says:

    Even though our home airport, DTW, is one of the test sites, Precheck will swoop in the for the save, especially since we travel with 4 children.

  • I see this being another layer of security that may work as deterrent rather than actually finding anything in a laptop

  • The TSA Pre lines are already starting to get huge, this will make them worse.

  • What about compact digital cameras?
    A compact digital camera is usually smaller than a cell phone but it is thicker.
    I hope there will be clear indications otherwise, especially at the beginning, the queues will become longer.

  • Another great perk of having Precheck! Although it seems they hand it out like candy now so there are just as many people in precheck as there are in regular TSA lines. Not having to disrobe or unpack my bags still makes it worthwhile, but both times I’ve flown recently using precheck, I haven’t saved any time because the line is so long!

  • And the fun of flying continues…. Good thing I have enrolled in TSA precheck a few months ago…

  • At least I hope they’ll be able to see everything? With all the devices these though just one person can have, I wonder how many bins they have and how fast they can get it all through. Do they have someone on the other end passing all the bins back? lol! ugh. It does make me dread my next flight, at least I have only one electronic that’ll be bigger than a cell phone. I’ll cross my fingers that I get TSA Pre!

  • I have started traveling with only a cellphone to avoid these issues. I know this is not possible for many people but traveling light helps avoid many headaches.

    • Don Camillo says:

      Completely agree. I have devices in all the destinations I travel to for business and all my data is in the Cloud. I have not checked a bag anymore since 2001…

  • Good to see precheck is exempted from this.

  • Thanks for the information, in October I will be visiting the USA and I will follow these procedures.

  • Thank you very much for the information! Guess I’ll leave some extra time for TSA when flying next time.

  • This shouldn’t be a big issue for most travelers. Just give yourself a few extra minutes, and listen to directions.

    Or look online and find out what is allowed, and what is not.

  • Ola Brandborn says:

    Driving the car instead of flying is becoming more and more joyful by the day.

  • angelo fonseca says:

    How good that we are evolving in relation to more agely procedures and safe boarding.

  • I don’t think it’ll be a big issue however I wonder what sort of electronics they’ll require you to remove. I often carry a DSLR which is arguably bigger than a phone yet I wouldn’t think of pulling it out. Hopefully they’ll be patient as thats not something that is normal for a lot of more casual travelers

  • Go with global entry, you also get precheck.

  • I would love to see some hard research on security as opposed to fearmongering.

  • Bertrand Say says:

    Does this make people feel safer?

    • Personally, I feel slightly better given that this is a security approach used across the world. I’m a big fan of implementing successful standards — I just hope this isn’t more security theatre.

  • I’m all for anything that makes us more safe however from what I understand the TSA is hardly effective at stopping people from sneaking banned items. So the end result is just longer screening lines, more confusion among travelers and little effectiveness.

  • Great news. I’m all for anything that helps to increase air safety.

  • Thanks, so we’ll be ready when we encounter this. Otherwise, it doesn’t seem like a big deal.

  • This is a small step closer to better security while at the same time not invading privacy. Nothing to do with body x-rays or strip searches. And on the other side, this is not firearms accidentally slipping through. Added security and no privacy issues. This is as close to a win win for the TSA and travelers. Seems very reasonable to me.

  • Edward Monrad says:

    I firmly disagree with the blanket statement that “Anything that increases aviation security should be welcomed”. You can increase security by not flying; that is clearly not a workable solution though. Security should be a risk reduced vs. cost (in terms of dollars, time, and invasiveness) optimization, not a “more is always better” exercise.

  • Jimmie Lin says:

    And there is another reason to have Precheck. Sad one has to pay a fee and be subject to background screening to be treated like a human at TSA checkpoints, but I guess one has to live with it.

  • I have no problem complying with the processes, my only issue is, if they are going to slow down the lines, why not add extra screeners? These policies come out and the only change they make is to tell “us” to get to the airport earlier. From my side, I think that they are responsible for security of flights, shouldn’t they make some moves that support that when additional screening is needed? We are paying one way or the other, through lost time and stress or through another fee tacked on to something!

  • While I’m inherently skeptical of the effectiveness of TSA and a slowly growing list of screening procedures, this particular one doesn’t seem like a huge burden at first blush.

  • thanks for the info

  • Looks like it’ll be a while before we experience this, as it hasn’t rolled out either of our home airports yet…and it’s making PreCheck look more & more appealing.