New carry-on rules mean longer Alaska airport security lines
If you’re headed to Alaska airports this holiday season, expect to spend extra time being screened as passengers unpack more of their electronics at Transportation Security Administration checkpoints.
It’s not just laptops any more -- now all electronics larger than a cellphone will need to be taken out of your carry-on bag and put into a screening bin before going through the X-ray machine. Some of the most common items subject to the new requirements, recently rolled out in Alaska, are tablet computers like iPads and cameras.
During a Tuesday demonstration of the new procedures at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, TSA spokeswoman Lorie Dankers said the added requirements are a result of concerns earlier this year that bombs in smaller devices might not be readily detectable.
“We know from intelligence that [terrorists] are increasingly using common consumer items like electronics to modify the battery compartments and put explosives in them,” Dankers said. “We continue to see that they’re doing that because they know Americans travel with electronics.”
Although the TSA had advised travelers in previous years to keep devices like tablets in carry-on bags, Dankers said even a wireless Bluetooth speaker could now be a threat. TSA agents will unpack any bags which raise concerns for closer examination.
“Our officers need to get a good look at those, so they need passengers to remove those from the bag beforehand,” Dankers said.
If you’re carrying a quart-sized bag of small liquids containers under the TSA’s 3-1-1 rule, it still needs to removed and now also needs to be in a bin by itself.
Due to the slower screenings, passengers should arrive at least 90 minutes early for domestic flights. And with all of these extra bins, don’t forget to grab all your things before you head to the gate.
“What we have seen nationwide in an increase in the number of items left behind at the security checkpoint,” Dankers said. “People are not used to removing all of these items, so when you put them in a bin, make that mental checklist so that you can gather them up on the other side.”
The new rules are already in effect in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau, with the rest of the state’s airports soon to follow.
Chris Klint contributed information to this story.