New Electronics Screening Procedures Coming for US Domestic Flights

A month ago the US declared that not only wouldn’t they extend the ban on electronics larger than a standard cell phone to European flights, but they’d remove it from flights coming from Mideast airports, provided each airport around the world changed its security procedures to U.S. specifications.

Supposedly there’s a concrete plot to blow up planes with electronics and that’s the top secret information President Trump disclosed to Russians in the Oval Office.

Requiring lithium ion batteries go in the cargo hold was the worst possible solution since those catch fire and those fires are difficult to put out when they occur in checked bags. They’re much more manageable inside the cabin. Instead the Department of Homeland Security is requiring airlines and airports around the world to spend billions of dollars on enhanced screening including explosive trace detection equipment.

The TSA itself is a basket case, but it’s declared the rest of the world must follow its instructions as a condition of air travel to the U.S.

TSA Agents in Charlotte Watch News of the TSA’s Failure to Detect Weapons and Bombs, Instead of Searching for Weapons and Bombs (HT: Tocqueville)

While the TSA focused on the perceived failures of airport security around the world, they haven’t entirely neglected their own failures at home. TSA has decided that they’re going require electronics larger than a cell phone to be screened separately at security checkpoints except in PreCheck lanes.

This is not a change to what’s allowed through the checkpoint, just to how electronics are screened at the checkpoint. Electronics larger than cell phones will have to be:

  • Removed from carry on bags
  • Placed in their own bin with nothing obscuring them either on top or beneath

This is expected to include cameras, tablets and noise cancelling headphones. These items, and all electronics larger than a phone, will be treated in a similar manner as laptops are treated today.

TSA’s new changes will slow down the screening process, because passengers will have to:

  • Take time to remove each item
  • Send more bins through the screening checkpoint
  • Repack each item once through screening

There are 10 airports where the new procedures are already in place:

  • Boise
  • Colorado Springs
  • Detroit
  • Fort Lauderdale
  • Boston
  • Los Angeles
  • Lubbock
  • San Juan
  • Las Vegas
  • Phoenix

In the future the TSA’s vision remains something akin to what they’re testing with American Airlines on a limited basis, 3-D scanners (which are currently used for screening checked luggage). They measure the density of objects within carry on bags as a way of detecting explosives. They’re supposed to be both faster and more accurate than the 2-D scanners deployed at checkpoints.

Once deployed they would obviate the need for passengers to remove electronics from their bags. This would also speed up the screening process.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. You think this will hurt the North-East shuttles from LGA? Why spend even more time at the airport if you can zip home using a luxury bus or a train.

  2. From one of the links provided in the article, ….“As President I wanted to share with Russia…which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety,” he wrote in a tweet….” . This guy is an idiot of the highest order. Sharing our secrets abut terrorism to a known enemy of the US and the rest of the free world is getting close t treason.

  3. Come on america!!! You got reputable high education in your own soil. Harvard, Yale, UCLA, among others.

    Yet you cannot solve this security issue for efficiency and effectivity?

  4. And the statistical murder goes on and likely rises. Make it more and more burdensome to fly and people will take to the highways where we know a certain number will die because driving is much more dangerous than flying. At least the Euros convinced the “never think about unintended consequences'” TSA to stop putting everyone at risk of fires in the baggage hold.

  5. Does this mean that passengers with Global Entry will have to remove all electronics larger thab a phone when their airport is not actually utilizing a pre-check lane?

  6. TLiT, what are your feelings about President DJT? Have you considered charging him rent for living in your head 24-7 since November?

  7. I’d have a lot more confidence in these procedures if the TSA weren’t such a bunch of Keystone Kops to begin with.

    Of course, this is what low taxes gets you. We have, consistently, opted to not pay for quality governmental services, then we have the Gaul to be upset when government sucks. You get what you pay for.

  8. Does not apply to precheck, so not really applicable to the vast majority of your readers

  9. @art, it is absurd for Trump to think the US needs to kiss Putin’s ass to defeat ISIL militarily. Moreover, aligning the US with Russia is counterproductive to defeating ISIL ideologically.

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