Karen Fratti
May 25, 2017 8:51 am

The Transportation Security Administration’s screening procedures at the airport are a necessary evil. Everyone knows this, especially TSA agents, even though they sometimes seem to take a strange pleasure in throwing out the plastic water bottle you forgot was in your bag from last week.

Now, the TSA is trying to make the process quicker, but it’s going to mean even more rules. Before, your laptop always had to go in a separate bin, but now officials also want your cellphone, tablets, and e-readers to be screen separately. The TSA is also testing new procedures in other airports, like taking all the paper out of your bag and snacks, too. The point is that screeners have a hard time seeing what’s in your carry-on because of all of the clutter.

So if you take out all the crumpled receipts and that apple you though you’d snack on later and put them in a separate bin, they can check your bag easier. This means that they’ll be looking at more bins, but hopefully quicker. Or the people in line in front of you who never travel will have a much harder time handling the bins and figuring out what goes where. It will definitely mean the TSA agents will get to yell more.


This isn’t about the TSA thinking that bombs are in your salted almonds — it’s really about clutter. Although as of this spring, the U.S. and the U.K. banned laptops from certain countries after learning that terrorists were putting bombs in computers, and they’re thinking about banning laptops from inbound flights from Europe, too. These new regulations are all about efficiency, and they will vary airport to airport, making it all the more confusing.

But in the future, if you refuse to take your phone and granola bar out of your bag, you might be subject to a physical search. What’s worse? In the name of human decency, maybe give your handbag a little clean out before you get to the airport. Just so you don’t end up making TSA agents examine your random tampons and trash in a separate bin. No one’s got time for that.

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