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TSA airport screenings toughen for electronic devices

UPDATED: Thu., Oct. 26, 2017, 7:40 p.m.

It might be time to rethink packing that extra e-reader or tablet during your holiday travels.

The Transportation Security Administration will now require some travelers departing Spokane International Airport to remove electronic items larger than a cellphone from carry-on bags and placed into separate bins, much like the procedure for laptops. Same deal for liquids: they too must be removed from luggage and cannot share a bin with other items.

Citing an increased concern over “aviation security,” TSA spokeswoman and public affairs manager Lorie Dankers said during a news conference Thursday that these changes have already been rolled out little by little at Spokane’s airport and others across the United States. For now, only some checkpoints in Spokane will employ the new procedure, and it won’t be all the time.

“It will be fairly unpredictable,” she said.

But by next spring, she said, all TSA checkpoints in all airports will move to the new procedure.

“It’s part of a larger effort to stay ahead of aviation threat,” Dankers said.

Dankers demonstrated the types of electronic items that would need to be removed and placed into a separate bin. She said multiple electronics could share one bin, but cannot be placed on top of each other.

Tablets? Bin. E-readers? Bin. Liquids or gel bags? Bin. Electronic label makers? Bin.

Laptop chargers and USB chargers? OK to stay in your carry-on.

Passengers departing from Spokane on Thursday morning were mostly unaware of the changes before stepping up to the security checkpoint. A TSA worker calmly explained the changes as they approached the baggage X-ray machine.

The changes didn’t increase the time it takes to go through security. Dankers recommended travelers still show up for their flights 90 minutes early, which is the same recommendation before the changes were implemented.


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