TSA Begins More Stringent Screening Measures For Electronic Devices

Inside the Edward H. Mc Namara Terminal Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport. CREDIT Wayne County Airport Authority  Vito Palmisano

The new enhanced security rules at USA airports only apply at standard security lanes - not at lanes for travelers who are in "pre-check" programs.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly first announced the new screening procedures on June 28, citing increasing terrorism attempts on commercial air flights.

The capability of screening luggage for electronics may become even more crucial as travelers, in an attempt to keep from hauling out several electronic devices at security, check them in their luggage instead. According to acting administrator Huban Gowadia, the following electronics will now need to ride down the conveyor belt solo: laptops, tablets, e-readers and handheld game consoles. Two months ago, the TSA ran a pilot program in 10 airports for the larger electronic devices, which they termed as successful. The rules are already in place in Boston; Colorado Springs; Detroit; Fort Lauderdale; Boise, Idaho; Los Angeles; Lubbock, Texas; Las Vegas; Phoenix; and San Juan.

The changes, which the TSA says are aimed at "raising the baseline for aviation security nationwide", will require that any electronics larger than a cellphone be removed from carry-on bags and placed in a separate bin.

The TSA announced plans to expand these procedures to all US airports in the coming months, in a press release Wednesday.

If you're traveling with a tablet or laptop, prepare for more rigorous screening as you make your way through airport security.

Officials said the strengthened screening policy might lead to additional baggage checks for passengers, but the TSA said it has found ways to speed the process up through "more targeted measures".

By deploying more technology, TSA is trying to keep ahead of terrorists in their capabilities to turn benign-looking electronics into weapons.

Travelers will still have to comply with current guidelines regarding food and liquids at security checkpoints, including the "3-1-1 liquids rule", which allows passengers to bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, creams, gels and pastes in their carry-on.