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TSA experiments with new screening measures at select airports

At about ten airports around the country, the Transportation Security Administration is requiring passengers to put electronics larger than a cellphone - as well as other items - into separate bins for X-ray screening. (Photo: KOMO News)

SEA-TAC INT’L AIRPORT, Wash. – Plenty of travelers think the lines are long enough at airport security checkpoints. Now the federal government is experimenting with new screening procedures that could affect wait times.

“That doesn't sound like it would be something I'd want to do," said Laura Lafarr, who was traveling out of Sea-Tac Airport from Montana.

At about ten airports around the country, the Transportation Security Administration is requiring passengers to put electronics larger than a cellphone - as well as other items - into separate bins for X-ray screening.

“I'm fine with it,” said Cary Flynn before catching a flight. “Give yourself another ten minutes and it's all good."

In test cities such as Boise, Idaho, passengers carrying books, glossy magazines and even food will have to take those items out of their carry-on bags to be inspected separately. TSA said those things can look a lot like explosives in a screening machine, requiring officers to go through the bags by hand.

“I already have to have three bins, one for my purse, one for my shoes, one for laptop, and then it would be four or five more,” said Elizabeth Carroll

TSA hopes the changes will not create longer lines. The agency said the time lost from passengers removing those items could be offset by faster scanning and fewer manual bag checks.

“Whatever keeps them safe,” said Amit Kapadia as he was about to catch a flight to San Jose. “I think the TSA knows what they are doing, so if it's safe, I'd rather be safe than sorry, right?"


Sea-Tac is not one of the airports where these tests are being run. However, tourist hot spots like Las Vegas and Los Angeles have implemented these changes.

TSA said it's all being done to improve efficiency and is not connected to the ban on laptops on flights coming out of some airports in the Middle East.

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