Heavy scrutiny of passengers makes for longer security checks
By Michelle Higgins – New York Times
Since the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) began tightening security in response to the Christmas Day bombing plot on a flight to Detroit, travelers have faced increasingly rigorous screenings at airports. They’ve been forced to cope with extra bag checks, closer scrutiny of their identification, and full body pat-downs for children as well as adults.
The new measures come on top of the already arduous process familiar to any regular traveler: the ritual offering up of shoes, jackets, belts, watches, laptops, cell phones and keys. But it’s the inconsistencies in the security measures — from country to country, airline to airline and airport to airport — that have left many passengers exasperated and confused. Some say they have encountered the usual routine, while others tell of undergoing multiple screenings at various stages of the itinerary, mostly on international flights bound for the United States.
More changes are expected to come to airports around the world as governments explore new security technology, including the much debated full-body scanners, which will soon be used in more American airports. Passengers traveling within the United States may notice an increase in random screenings, behavior detection officers who look for signs that passengers may be hiding something, and a wider use of tools like explosives trace detection devices, not just at the checkpoint but throughout the airport.
For passengers, all of this means coping with an onerous, shifting security routine fraught with privacy concerns. But travelers are a resilient bunch and many are already adapting to the new realities. Here are a number of things you can do to navigate the new measures.
Innocent items can appear to be potential threats on an X-ray image, simply by the way they’re packed. Tying up loose headphones and cell phone cords so your luggage doesn’t look like an ominous jumble of wires can help expedite screening, for instance.
Use a special laptop bag
These “checkpoint friendly” bags provide a clear and unobstructed X-ray image of the laptop, allowing travelers to keep the computers in their cases at airport security checkpoints. This eliminates the hassle of having to unpack the laptop, place it in a bin and repack it at the end of the conveyor belt.
Mobile Edge offers a huge collection of TSA compliant Checkpoint Friendly Laptop Bags they call their ScanFast Collection. They offer the largest selection of security approved laptop cases on the market for both men and women travelers.
Follow the rules
It may sound simple, but anyone who has been to an airport recently knows how frequently this point is overlooked. Shoes must be placed on the X-ray belt, as opposed to in a bin, to help security officers get a good look at them. Liquids, aerosols or gels must be packed in containers no larger than 3.4 ounces in one clear, quart-sized zip-top bag. A list of prohibited items is at www.tsa.gov/travelers.
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