Passengers traveling through America’s airports will have to separate large electronics from their carry-on baggage under new screening procedures announced Wednesday by the Transportation Security Administration.
Travelers will be required to remove electronics that are larger than a cellphone from carry-on baggage so the electronics can undergo X-ray screening in an effort aimed at upgrading the nation’s aviation security, officials said. The change does not apply to passengers who are part of the TSA Precheck program.
“It is critical for (the) TSA to constantly enhance and adjust security screening procedures to stay ahead of evolving threats and keep passengers safe,” acting TSA administrator Huban Gowadia said in a news release. “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 security change was announced after it was tested in 10 airports, including Boston’s Logan International Airport, Florida’s Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Puerto Rico's Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport. The measure will be rolled out to the rest of the nation’s airfields in the coming months.
Officials said the strengthened screening policy might lead to additional baggage checks for passengers, but the TSA said it has found ways to speed the process up through “more targeted measures.”
The change does not affect what can be brought through a checkpoint.
Wednesday’s announcement came weeks after Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said flights coming into the United States would be required to conduct enhanced screening of electronic devices and passengers.
Officials announced in March that large personal electronic devices had been restricted at 10 airports in Africa and the Middle East due to security concerns. The restrictions have since been lifted.