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Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

Transportation Security Administration

Let’s Close the Book on Book Screening Rumors

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Do you have to remove books from your carry-on bags prior to sending your bag through the X-ray?

Short answer: No

Longer answer (but still pretty short): You know us… We’re always testing procedures to help stay ahead of our adversaries. We were testing the removal of books at two airport locations and the testing ran its course. We’re no longer testing and have no intentions of instituting those procedures.

So, with that out of the way, you might be wondering why we were interested in books. Well, our adversaries seem to know every trick in the book when it comes to concealing dangerous items, and books have been used in the past to conceal prohibited items. We weren’t judging your books by their covers, just making sure nothing dangerous was inside.

Occasionally, our officers may recommend passengers remove items such as heavy, glossy programs during a special event with a lot of travelers such as Super Bowl programs.

If a bag needs to be opened by a TSA officer, we encourage any passenger with privacy concerns to request private screening.

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Bob Burns

TSA Social Media


Submitted by VP on

I was just asked to remove my books and laptop from my bag at BZN, Bozeman, MT. This was despite the fact that I have TSA precheck, it was noted on my boarding pass, and an agent gave me a yellow tag to indicate so. I couldn't tell if the agents checking the bags were aware that the program had ended or if they just wanted to be rude; however, they certainly were not pleasant when I asked if I still had to remove these items despite the fact that I had precheck.

Submitted by Josh In Florida on

Orlando told me (and everyone else in line) to remove all notepads and books from my back pack. There was really no point in having a bag at that point as almost all the contents had to be removed. Also, I was always told that only laptops had to be removed. I was told to remove a portable monitor so they could rescan and inspect. I've been traveling with it for over 2 years. This was the first issue I've ever had.

Submitted by Joseph Mies on

TSA made me remove books today, August 31, 2017,8:39 am, in South Bend, IN. If TSA is not screening for books, you should let everyone know.

Submitted by Stefan H on

I don't think the TSA employees at LAX are aware this is no longer required. I was in the security line today and the TSA agents were telling everyone to remove books, magazines, notebooks, and any electronics larger than a cell phone. I basically had to empty my entire bag.

Submitted by Gabe on

I was asked to remove books and papers from by bag for screening at the South Bend, IN airport today, 9/1/17. So evidently this is still in practice.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Book screening was still happening at BZN as of today, September 3rd, 2017. I had to pull out my son's board books today.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I also want to add that I asked the TSA agents in Bozeman today (9/2/17) when they had started scanning books and they told me it was "a brand new test".

Submitted by Anonymous on

Bozeman airport required this and said it's due to a new nationwide procedure. I'm fine if that's true, but based on this article it's not. It would be nice to have a consistent experience whichever airport you go to, there were long delays due to this 'nation wide change'. So why are some airports saying this but not others?

Submitted by Amanda on

Bozeman airport required this and said it's due to a new nationwide procedure. I'm fine if that's true, but based on this article it's not. It would be nice to have a consistent experience whichever airport you go to, there were long delays due to this 'nation wide change'. So why are some airports saying this but not others?

Submitted by Dan on

We just flew from Bozeman and the food/book policy is in place. We contacted the airport afterwards and the airport spoke with TSA about the policy. The airport manager reported back that per the Bozeman TSA the food/book policy is still in full force. The lines and friendliness of TSA at Bozenman was worse than normal.

Submitted by Linda Ray on

My daughter just flew out of the Indianapolis airport. She was told to remove all books and anything that could be put in your mouth and put them in a basket. She was told Indy was part of a test group and the rest of the world would be following suit. She was traveling with two little kids and had lots of books in the bottom of her diaper bag.

Submitted by Anonymous on

That's not actually true, LAX demanded everyone's books and anything that could be written on (paper, journals, etc). Why, and why are you lying about it? This is getting creepy.

Submitted by Anonymous on

We flew home by way of LAX yesterday and were barked orders to remove all food, snacks, books, magazines and electronics larger than a phone. If we missed something we were told our bag could be dumped out on the floor.

Submitted by Jt$ on

bozeman montana 9/14, asked to remove books. either they are wrong or this website is.

Submitted by Brad on

Still looking at books (my screener even went so far as to pick the book up, and turn it cover-up so she could read the title) as of 9/17.

Submitted by Christine Paulsen on

This happened to us today in Orlando, so I'm not sure how you can say they're no longer "testing" this procedure. We were required to remove ALL books and electronics, no matter how small, and they looked through them all.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I just went through TSA in ACY (Atlantic City, NJ) and they told everyone to remove books and snacks along with iPads and liquids from carry on bags. They did it twos weeks ago also. I was TSA pre-check but they don’t have a dedicated pre-check X-ray.

Submitted by Jennifer D on

Was required to pull all books and papers from my bag on 9/19/17 at LGA going to Boston. "it's new" Ridiculous!

Submitted by Erinn on

Not true, had to remove books, food and all electronics from my bags at LAX today. Took four winds and twenty extra minutes. Who is LAX still doing this? And what's up with the food? I'm diabetic and require food.

Submitted by LK on

Today - Sept 25, 2017, in Bozeman Yellowstone airport TSA was having everyone remove books and snacks. So apparently you haven't closed the book yet!

Submitted by Kmh on

I had to do this in the wee hours of the morning 9/18/2017 at LAX. I was surprised and had about 10 books and a couple apples I had to take out. I forgot about a couple magazines they noticed and checked by hand. Other than being surprised, I was not troubled. I did not have any sense that they were looking to see what books I was reading. When asked the TSA folks said it was being tested regionally and would be implemented across the country by December. Would be good to get the word out to everyone so those of us who are crazy book-buying tourists would be prepared to empty what we needed ahead of time and not slow the line down.

Submitted by Mary Beth Eversman on

They had passengers remove books and papers today at the Orlando International Airport (MCO).

Submitted by Book Lover Trav... on

Please inform the TSA personnel at the Orlando Sanford Airport that this is not policy. We were instructed to remove all of our books from our bags this morning. We are a family of 5 who loves to read and do activity books while we travel. Our books filled one of those gray bins.... I guess we all got a good chuckle...

Submitted by Patty Cutchis on

We just came through TSA in Orlando this morning and book removal was required.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Just flew out of MCO in Orlando on 10/4 and they were making everyone remove books and magazines among a bunch of other weird procedures that varied by line. I go through TSA screening several times a month and this was the most radical and unexplained departure from normal process that I've witnessed.

Submitted by W H Wye on

This happened to me in Orlando on Friday, so this article is NO LONGER TRUE. The weird thing is that I spoke with others in the same concourse who did not have to pull out all of their papers and snacks.

This was a breach of privacy, along with making the security process take much longer. Please stop this intrusive screen process.

Submitted by Erin Wetty on

This procedure appears to be back at Hartsfield in Atlanta, at least as of this morning. The agent I spoke with said they are rolling this out soon. True?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Contrary to widespread reports that this "test" of book/magazine screening was ended in the summer, this practice is undergoing full implementation at LAX in Oct 2017.

Submitted by Zach on

Just went through the Orlando (MCO) airport 10/9/2017 and was forced to remove all books. Apparently the message didn't get to them that this isn't necessary. It made getting through TSA three times longer than it should have. When a bag went through with a book we had forgotten about they pulled it aside and took their sweet time going through it manually. You should make sure all your employees are reading their emails and understand that this isn't required anymore. I hate that I am forced to waste my money on TSA.

Submitted by BD on

My book and comic books had to be removed from my personal item bag, along with all other passengers on 10/15/2017 at Orlando Sanford at 5:50 AM. Thought this wasn't going to be an ongoing policy???

Submitted by Anonymous on

I just had books from bag removed and checked at the Orlando International Airport on October 15, 2017. This directly contradicts your posting. Would you please clarify the accuracy of your post?

Submitted by Meg P on

I was asked to remove all books for a "new screening process that will be implemented everywhere" today - October 18, 2017. This was in Atlanta, GA.

Submitted by Anonymous on

My family had to remove all books and snacks today at Orlando Sanford. Very frustrating. I'd never heard of this before. We are not infrequent travelers.

Submitted by AC on

Orlando TSA checked books and food and made everyone remove them yesterday. So, this is ongoing.

Submitted by Anonymous on

You just screened my books and even my writing material. When I asked if we were on a heightened threat alert I was told it was because of the thickness of books which doesn't explain padfolios. She also mentioned data gathering but didn't explain. Are you tracking book titles of passengers?

Submitted by J Graman on

Someone should tell the Orlando airport. As of 10/22/2017 they are still requiring the removal of books and food from all carryone bags.

Submitted by L Reyes on

HMMM. Interesting. I just had to remove all of my 7 year old's books and our snacks from his luggage today. It seems that this testing is actually still going on.

Submitted by KS on

All passengers going through screening at MCO on the morning of 10/25/17 were required to remove all of their books and magazines from all carry-on luggage, as well as all food items. We not told until we got to the bin tables that we had to remove these items, which further slowed down the lines. Ridiculous!

Submitted by Anonymous on

Books were required to be in separate bins after being removed from carry on in Orlando Oct 28. Was told this is now standard procedure and will spread to all airports soon. Not a rumor. This blog needs to be updated or This blog post is a lie.

Submitted by M Bowen on

We flew home 11/12/17 out of Orlando (MCO) and were told that we HAD to remove books, magazines and papers and place them in a separate bin. We also HAD to remove ALL food and place it in its own bin. We were told this when we were getting close to the conveyor belt and told not to wait until we got to it. She said this was a new rule as of 2 months ago and actually said "yada, yada, yada" when explaining it. I had 2 carry ons with me and had to sit on the floor to open my suitcase to get out the multitude of snacks that I had with me that were thankfully all in a gallon size ziploc bag except for 3 items. The same rather rude TSA agent dumped them out into the bin. After going through xray, another TSA agent took them and swabbed down almost every single food item with some sort of wipe before they were returned to me. All were prepackaged items except jellybeans that my daughter had bought. As for my book, the rude agent thumbed through it twice BEFORE it went through xray. In its own bin! Please explain how this saves time. I had to use 3 bins in addition to my 2 carry ons that had been packed efficiently until getting to MCO.

Submitted by Anonymous on

MCO airport had me remove my notebooks and my clipboard because they had papers in them. Also, my cell phone and as usual my laptop and liquids. This is getting out of hand.

Submitted by Anonymous on

MCO made me remove my food and put it in a separate bin after my bags were on the security belt. They told my sister to remove food and books. They didn’t ask me about books. MCO needs to be retrained. TSA information has not reached them. Makes me wonder what else has not been clearly communicated to the TSA employees across the U.S. I understand the need for security; however, I am concerned about the lack of communication comprehension exhibited by the TSA at MCO. Get another memo out with mandatory sign-offs by employees to indicate they read and understand that this “test” is no longer in practice. Extremely glad this rule is dead.

Submitted by Anon on

I just had to remove two small bound sketchbooks and my food at MCO. If this is not required PLEASE have them stop. It makes security take thrice as long as it should, especially since they insist on having a person there baby-sitting you, going through your stuff. Why not just put up a sign and let us do it ourselves? i would have already had them out before I got up to the front of the line so it would have taken less time.

Submitted by Erin on

TODAY, December 1st, I was made to remove my books from my carry on bag in Orlando, & the agent flipped through them. I will be sure to bring some scandalous titles next time.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I just had to remove all my paper based products in Denver terminal A. I had TSA pre but went through the regular line.

Submitted by Mike on

I just had to remove all my paper based products in Denver terminal A. I had TSA pre but went through the regular line.

Submitted by Anonymous on

The TSA is awful! They search me every other time. I am surprised when they don’t. Today they searched me everywhere. They casually offer the private search but what are they going to do back there? The search you real bad up front so do you drop your underwear in the back? I said up here and that’s the only thing they didn’t do. It just not okay

Submitted by JDE NYC on

Ha this isn’t a rumor! I just checked in at LGA (3/24/2018), JetBlue/Delta terminal, with my wife and two children. We had to remove every book from our bags, including magazines and my kids’ coloring books! It took us almost 20 mins just to get through the scanner. Fortunately we were early! Plan accordingly, avoid LGA at all costs, and get TSA Pre!

Submitted by Robyn on

They are doing this in Memphis, too - literally thumbing through the travel binder that my assistant prepares for me. I have never experienced this before and it seems very invasive.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Can I bring 5 books in my carry-on bag