The US Transportation and Security Administration, better known as the TSA, recently announced plans to begin testing a new enhanced screening program over the coming weeks and days. The new enhanced screening program, which is initially scheduled to be tested at 10 different US airports, is designed to provide an additional level of security to prevent threats related to electronic equipment, such as laptops and tablets.
As part of this new screening program, all electronic devices larger than a cell phone will be subjected to an additional x-ray scan. While some passengers are already expecting that this additional screening will lead to even more security delays, the actual process doesn’t seem to be that much different than what passengers already have to go through.
Passengers have been required for many years to take all laptops and other large electronic items out of their bags. However, the new procedures will now require that all tablets, laptops and other electronic items larger than a cell phone be place in their own separate bin for x-ray screening. By separating each electronic item, the TSA hopes that its workers will be better able to scan the items and potentially identify threats.
Furthermore, the TSA has said that it doesn’t expect the new screening procedure to lead to additional delays, as it is also testing various procedures for faster, more targeted screening at the same airports where it is testing the new electronics screening procedure. Currently, passengers flying out of any of the following airports can expect to be subjected to this additional electronic screening.
- Boston-Logan International Airport
- Detroit Metropolitan Airport
- Los Angeles International Airport
- Las Vegas-McCarran International Airport
- Phoenix-Sky Harbor International Airport
- San Jose-Luis Munoz Marin International Airport
- Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport
- Lubbock-Preston Smith International Airport
- Colorado Springs Airport
- Boise Airport
In order to test the overall effectiveness of the screening procedure and how it functions in different environments, the FAA chose to test the program at smaller, medium and large airports. If the program is a success, the FAA plans on eventually rolling it out at every airport across the country.
This move comes after intelligence reports received credible enough information about a potential threat posed by laptop and other electronic devices that the US government banned laptops from being carried on any flights originating from a number of countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Due to the seriousness of the threat, the government is also considering extending the ban to include all flights from Europe, which could end up affecting millions of passengers a month.
For this reason, many passengers probably won’t object all that much to the increased screening if it means that otherwise they may be still be allowed to use their electronic devices onboard.