CHICAGO – To ensure the security of airline passengers and the nation’s airports, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) began implementing new, stronger screening procedures for carry-on items at O’Hare International Airport and Midway International Airport this week. The new procedures, which were announced earlier this year, require travelers to place all electronics larger than a cell phone in bins for X-ray screening in standard lanes.
“TSA must constantly enhance its security procedures to stay ahead of evolving threats,” said TSA Spokesman Michael McCarthy. “TSA is committed to raising the baseline for aviation security and we appreciate the cooperation of the traveling public in this endeavor.”
TSA officers will begin to ask travelers to remove electronics larger than a cell phone from their carry-on bags and place them in a bin with nothing on top or below, similarly to how laptops have been screened for years. This simple step helps TSA officers obtain a clearer X-ray image.
It is possible that passengers may experience more bag checks, however, through extensive testing, TSA identified ways to improve screening procedures with quicker and more targeted measures to clear the bags.
“The simple step of separating personal electronic items for screening allows TSA officers to more closely focus on resolving alarms and stopping terror threats,” said McCarthy.
In standard screening lanes, TSA officers will be stationed in front of the checkpoint X-ray machines to guide passengers through the screening process and recommend how best to arrange their carry-on items for X-ray screening. Travelers are encouraged to organize their carry-on bags and keep them uncluttered to ease the screening process and keep the lines moving. There are no changes to what travelers can bring through the checkpoint; food and liquid items that comply with the 3-1-1 liquids rule, electronics, and books continue to be allowed in carry-on bags.
The new security measures do not apply to passengers enrolled in TSA Pre✓® who are using TSA Pre✓® lanes. TSA also marked another milestone earlier this month with TSA Pre✓® now available at 200 airports nationwide. Travelers enrolled in TSA Pre✓® do not need to remove shoes, 3-1-1 liquids, laptops, electronics, light outerwear, or belts. The program allows TSA to focus resources on passengers who may pose a high risk to security while providing expedited screening to those travelers who have been identified as low-risk, trusted travelers.