The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has rolled out enhanced screening protocols for carry-on bags at select airports around the country.
A pilot program, currently being tested at 10 airports, asks passengers to take out larger electronics and other items from their carry-ons and put them into separate screening bins.
The TSA emphasized, however, that there have not been any changes to what is allowed in carry-on bags.
“As part of our counterterrorism efforts, TSA continuously enhances and adjusts security screening procedures to stay ahead of evolving threats. TSA is currently testing adjusted screening procedures for carry-on bags and other accessible property at about a dozen select U.S. airports, with the potential to expand to other airports nationwide,” Darby LaJoye, TSA assistant administrator for security operations, said in a statement.
“At these airports, travelers will be asked to place electronics larger than a cell phone in a bin separately for X-ray screening. TSA officers may also advise travelers to place other carry-on items separately in a bin.”
While the screening procedures have been in place for as long as 18 months in some cases, a Wall Street Journal report Wednesday brought the protocols to light.
The report comes as the Trump administration considers expanding a limited ban on large electronics on the cabins of U.S.-bound flights.
But the TSA said that the new carry-on screening measures are part of an ongoing effort to make the screening process more efficient.
Cluttered carry-on bags, which have become increasingly more common as passengers try to avoid fees for checked luggage, can take longer for TSA screeners to decipher on an X-Ray machine.
Items that can look like explosives, such as tablets, e-readers and food, are easier to decipher if they are placed into separate screening bins. Passengers that don’t have PreCheck are already required to place their laptops in separate bins.
Requiring more passengers to divest their items may take longer on the front end, but the TSA says it ultimately speeds up the screening process if officers are performing less manual bag checks and if they have a clearer picture on the X-ray machine.
The pilot is currently being tested at: Boise Airport, Colorado Springs Airport, Detroit Metropolitan Airport, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Logan International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport, Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, McCarran International Airport and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
The program could eventually be expanded to other airports, the TSA said.