WASHINGTON, D.C. – Veteran air travelers call the ritual at airport checkpoints “the dance” — or worse.
Quart-size, zip-top bag full of bottled liquids in the plastic bin. Slip off your shoes. Empty your pockets. Take off the belt. Remove your laptop from its bag. Hold the boarding pass for the officer on the other side of the metal detector.
The Transportation Security Administration has these two new initiatives designed to eliminate the two steps that annoy people most:
KEEP IT IN THE BAG
Starting Saturday, security officers will let
travelers keep laptops inside “checkpoint-friendly” bags during X-ray screenings.
•The TSA contacted companies in March with standards for bags to receive the new designation, but the TSA won’t let bagmakers say their product is TSA-approved.
•Screeners must get a good look at electronics inside laptops to make sure nothing’s been tampered with. So, the bags — or anything in them — can’t obstruct that image. “Laptop-friendly” bags must have a separate laptop compartment that folds out to lie flat on the X-ray belt and has no pockets, metal snaps or zippers.
KEEP YOUR SHOES ON
The TSA is testing a machine that can bomb-sniff shoes without travelers taking them off.
•The PassPort explosive-trace detectors look like subway station turnstiles.
•The system puffs air across a subject’s waist, hands and shoes, and tests for chemicals used in explosives.
•Travelers can walk through the portal without stopping, according to manufacturer L-3 Communications.