Airline passengers — already accustomed to taking out their laptops at security checkpoints — will now have to remove all electronics larger than a cell phone from carry-on bags for individual screening, the TSA announced on Wednesday.
This means people will have to remove tablets, e-readers and any other larger-format electronics from bags they plan to carry on to flights and send them through the x-ray machine in their own bins.
The new procedures, already tested at 10 airports around the country, including Boston and Los Angeles, will expand nationwide in the coming weeks.
“By separating personal electronic items such as laptops, tablets, e-readers and handheld game consoles for screening, TSA officers can more closely focus on resolving alarms and stopping terror threats,” TSA Acting Administrator Huban A. Gowadia said in a statement.
The move comes amid recent concerns over explosives concealed within electronics. The TSA has worked with the intelligence community to construct the kinds of IEDs they think terrorists are working towards building.
“We tested it, on a real airplane, on the ground, pressurized. To say the least, it destroyed the airplane,” Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said at a security forum in Colorado last week.
Airports around the world have also been ramping up security at the behest of the U.S. government, with passengers on U.S. bound flights seeing more canine teams and explosive swabbing.
“Make no mistake, our enemies are constantly working to find new methods for disguising explosives, recruiting insiders and hijacking aircraft,” Kelly said at an event in Washington, D.C., last month. “They still see aviation as the crown jewel target.”