The Transportation Security Administration has begun to roll out new, stronger screening procedures for carry-on items at airports nationwide, with procedures being phased in at all Upstate New York airports in the coming weeks.
The new procedures require travelers to place all personal electronic devices larger than a cellphone—such as laptops, tablets and cameras—in bins for X-ray screening. The new requirements are designed to address the current terror threat by raising the baseline of aviation security, officials said in a statement Thursday.
“TSA constantly enhances its security procedures to stay ahead of evolving threats,” said Bart Johnson, TSA’s upstate federal security director. “The terror threat is real and TSA is committed to raising the baseline for aviation security.”
TSA this summer had its busiest in history, screening some 239 million passengers and crew members at checkpoints nationwide, officials said separately. More than 99 percent of passengers waited less than 30 minutes in checkpoint lines, with 99.6 percent of TSA Precheck passengers waiting less than 10 minutes.
With the new rules in place, passengers can expect to see TSA officers ask travelers to remove items from their carry-ons and place them in a bin with nothing on top or below, similar to how laptops have been screened for some time, Johnson said. The step helps agents obtain a clearer X-ray image.
The new procedures are slated to be in place at Albany International Airport, Syracuse Hancock International Airport, Greater Rochester International Airport and Buffalo-Niagara International Airport this month, while smaller airports statewide also will implement the new safety standards.
The new process is not expected to alter checkpoint wait times, despite the possibility of more carry-ons being checked, officials said. The new procedures do not apply to passengers enrolled in TSA Precheck who are using TSA Precheck lanes.
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