The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is testing new security measures that would require passengers to remove even more items from carry-ons to go through airport checkpoints.
Travelers are already required to take out liquids and laptops before passing through to their gates. They might soon be required to take out every electronic device larger than a cell phone, including cameras, game consoles, and iPads as well as any food items or books, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.
Some dense food items. like chocolate, can look like a certain type of explosive device to X-ray machines and cause delays, the article notes.
Thick stacks of paper and books are problematic because they obscure the items beneath them. In February, weighty Super Bowl programs with holograms on them caused numerous security stops in Houston.
“It is not any one particular item we’re worried about,” Darby LaJoye, assistant administrator for security operations, told WSJ. “It’s not about paper or food or anything. It’s how best to divest those items.”
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The new measures are currently being tested at several smaller airports, including Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Lubbock, Texas. But passengers have also started to encounter them in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Boston, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and San Juan, Puerto Rico, according to WSJ.
If the TSA decides to implement the new procedure across the country, it will be in place in time for the summer rush, according to the same report.
The added measures would not change what is allowed inside carry-on bags, the TSA noted in a statement on the trial phase Wednesday.
The proposed new security protocols come following the decision from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to impose cabin electronics bans on items larger than a cellphone for flights coming from several Middle Eastern cities, citing concerns that a bomb could be disguised inside the large lithium batteries of laptops and iPads.
After considering extending the electronics restrictions to airports in Europe — and millions more travelers — the administration has put that decision on hold. The ban is not off the table, however: DHS noted the measure was “still under consideration.”