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.
- Over 20,000 TSA employees have been accused of misconduct, half multiple times.
- They continue to miss 95% of the dangerous items going through security checkpoints. We’re safe from terrorist attacks because there are a limited number of people trying to bring down airplanes and some basic procedures make it somewhat harder to do.
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:
- Colorado Springs
- Fort Lauderdale
- Los Angeles
- San Juan
- Las Vegas
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.