TSA testing enhanced screening for carry-on bags

The Transportation Security Administration announced Wednesday it is testing tighter screening of carry-on bags at 10 USA airports, including those in Boston, Los Angeles, Fort Lauderdale and Lubbock, Texas.

"Although passengers may experience more bag checks, we are testing quicker and more targeted procedures at these locations", the TSA said in a statement.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the TSA is testing and finalizing these new security checkpoint plans and that they could begin to affect travels as early as this fall.

Airline passengers' carry-on bags are just too cluttered, so the Transportation Security Administration is testing new procedures that would require them to remove more stuff for separate screening at 10 USA airports. "TSA officers may also advise travelers to place other carry-on items separately in a bin". The TSA has found that everyday items can appear similar to explosives on an X-ray machine - which slows down lines because officers must manually inspect a large number of bags.

"The TSA emphasized, however, that there have not been any changes to what is allowed in carry-on bags".

There is no specific threat associated with these items that requires them to be screened separately, and the change is not associated with the ban on laptops and other large electronics on flights originating from some Middle East airports; rather, the move is meant to increase efficiency. More and more travelers are reportedly cramming overflow items into their carry-ons to avoid paying steep checked baggage fees, so asking that these extra devices be removed could speed up the boarding process.

Darby LaJoye, TSA assistant administrator for security operations, told The Wall Street Journal the administration has been considering making changes at X-ray machines for almost 18 months.

"Electronics are hard to see through", the official said.

The new rule does not apply to pre-check passengers.

The WSJ reports that the TSA is taking on customers' overstuffed, cluttered bags with screening tests at smaller airports around the country.

The new screening process comes as Americans prepare for a summer travel season that is expected to set new air travel records.

Vanessa Coleman