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All Food and Electronics Larger than Cellphones out for Screening

All Food and Electronics Larger than Cellphones out for Screening

Old Dec 30, 19, 6:19 am
  #406  
 
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Originally Posted by miniika
To my mind almost every electronic item is larger than a cellphone... phone charging bricks, fans, batteries, cords, etc. Do they want all that junk in a bin, or am I overthinking this?
The idea behind separating electronics is to permit the screening to capture an unobstructed view of any devices to ensure they are not a disguised weapon.

As a practical matter, it is in your best interest to separate potentially suspicious items to maximize your probability of passing the screening the first time without drawing additional scrutiny (e.g., separation and re-scanning after the initial pass, swabbing, groping). Or, enroll in Pre-check, where magically these items no longer are suspicious and can all be left in your carry-on.
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Old Dec 30, 19, 7:15 am
  #407  
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Even when Ive had PreCheck and received PreCheck or PreCheck light screening, there are times when Ive been told by TSA to have the iPads and laptops and food removed and separated for screening despite being allowed to keep shoes and even coats on. But the TSA is inconsistent, so YMMV.

Some of the larger smartphones seem bigger than the controller-removed Nintendo Switch consoles, but if you show them to TSA, you will probably get a pass on the large smartphone but may not with the Switch.
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Old Dec 30, 19, 2:38 pm
  #408  
 
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Originally Posted by YadiMolina
The idea behind separating electronics is to permit the screening to capture an unobstructed view of any devices to ensure they are not a disguised weapon.

As a practical matter, it is in your best interest to separate potentially suspicious items to maximize your probability of passing the screening the first time without drawing additional scrutiny (e.g., separation and re-scanning after the initial pass, swabbing, groping). Or, enroll in Pre-check, where magically these items no longer are suspicious and can all be left in your carry-on.
Thanks. Do clear ziplock bags cause any problem for their scanners? If not, I could just organize my stuff that way... and the contractor supplying bins will love me!
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Old Dec 30, 19, 7:10 pm
  #409  
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Originally Posted by miniika
Sorry, I had a nice descriptive post, but it was eaten by the forums because I had a link to the TSA website and I haven't posted 5 times yet.

So, the short vague version: What are they after with this (besides "whatever the TSA agent feels like that day")?
"The new procedures, which were announced last July, require travelers to place all electronics larger than a cell phone in bins for X-ray screening in standard lanes."

To my mind almost every electronic item is larger than a cellphone... phone charging bricks, fans, batteries, cords, etc. Do they want all that junk in a bin, or am I overthinking this?
I don't know all the details but there is one thing that's fairly clear:

Bombs generally will be organics + electronics. Electronics rarely contain organics other than in thin sheets (their cases). By separating your electronics you greatly reduce the chance they'll see electronics overlaid with organics.

Also, homemade bombs will likely contain a variety of wire. (While it's quite possible to make a circuit board at home it's not exactly what bombmakers generally know how to do.) Electronic devices contain very little wire (it's mostly circuit boards) other than wires used to connect devices (power wires, headphones etc.) Again, everything out makes it less likely you'll have overlaid images that look suspicious.
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Old Dec 30, 19, 11:49 pm
  #410  
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Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel
I don't know all the details but there is one thing that's fairly clear:

Bombs generally will be organics + electronics. Electronics rarely contain organics other than in thin sheets (their cases). By separating your electronics you greatly reduce the chance they'll see electronics overlaid with organics.

Also, homemade bombs will likely contain a variety of wire. (While it's quite possible to make a circuit board at home it's not exactly what bombmakers generally know how to do.) Electronic devices contain very little wire (it's mostly circuit boards) other than wires used to connect devices (power wires, headphones etc.) Again, everything out makes it less likely you'll have overlaid images that look suspicious.
If your thoughts are correct then why are Pre lanes exempt from the electronics out policy? Surely those X-ray machines have the same limitations.
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Old Dec 31, 19, 6:55 am
  #411  
 
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Originally Posted by Boggie Dog
If your thoughts are correct then why are Pre lanes exempt from the electronics out policy? Surely those X-ray machines have the same limitations.
For the same reason that PreCheck exists at all - none of these requirements has anything to do with genuine security, they are all about putting on a show to convince the American people that TSA is actually "doing something" to "keep us all safe".

In-universe*, the explanation is probably that those in the PreCheck lane are pre-vetted to an inherently higher level of trustworthiness so their possessions require a lower level of scrutiny than some unvetted granny from Glendale or an unvetted business traveler from Boston or an unvetted toddler from Tampa.
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*In-universe is a term used by sci-fi fans to denote explanations that comply with the established rules and premises of completely fictional universes such as those in Star Wars, Star Trek, or Buckaroo Banzai.
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Old Jan 1, 20, 6:29 am
  #412  
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Originally Posted by Boggie Dog
If your thoughts are correct then why are Pre lanes exempt from the electronics out policy? Surely those X-ray machines have the same limitations.
Didn't in the recent news from the TSA "whistleblower" he say that x-ray machines at regular checkpoints were lowered in sensitivity to equal those of the Pre-Check x-rays (or was it the body scanners that have been reduced in sensitivity?).
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Old Jan 1, 20, 6:02 pm
  #413  
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Originally Posted by petaluma1
Didn't in the recent news from the TSA "whistleblower" he say that x-ray machines at regular checkpoints were lowered in sensitivity to equal those of the Pre-Check x-rays (or was it the body scanners that have been reduced in sensitivity?).
Claims that some advanced features of the carry-on bag x-ray machines had been disabled which might explain the all electronics out policy. But, if the x-ray machines can't provide a complete view then why aren't carry-on bags better screened in the Pre lines?
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Last edited by Boggie Dog; Jan 2, 20 at 11:59 am
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Old Jan 1, 20, 6:39 pm
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Originally Posted by petaluma1
Didn't in the recent news from the TSA "whistleblower" he say that x-ray machines at regular checkpoints were lowered in sensitivity to equal those of the Pre-Check x-rays (or was it the body scanners that have been reduced in sensitivity?).
WTMDs.
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Old Feb 17, 20, 12:38 pm
  #415  
 
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I was still curious, so I did an @ AskTSA on Twitter. I've edited their response to remove my name, a link to a YouTube video, and to join multiple posts, but here is the important part:
Electronics larger than a cell phone applies to laptops, gaming consoles, printers, DVD players, media streaming devices, tablet computers, and e-readers. Your phone charging brick, charging cable, USB power bank, travel fan, and USB charging hub can remain in your carry-on bags.
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Old Feb 18, 20, 6:32 am
  #416  
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Originally Posted by Boggie Dog
But, if the x-ray machines can't provide a complete view then why aren't carry-on bags better screened in the Pre lines?
Even as that seemed to have been about WTMDs, what you ask is not just a question to be asked about electronics. It should also be asked about food in cabin baggage.

In part for kicks, I decided to take a bunch of huge apples most bigger than cellphones of sort inside my carry-on with a whole bunch of electronics and related stuff for my flight yesterday as a PreCheck passenger using a dedicated PreCheck screening checkpoint. There was no extra inspection of my carry-ons and I didnt remove the food. In other parts of the world and even at the regular TSA screening line or at the TSA checkpoints where there is PreCheck light, this mix would generally mean that the bag is not getting cleared so fast and easily as with the regular PreCheck screening.
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Old Feb 18, 20, 9:00 pm
  #417  
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Originally Posted by GUWonder
Even as that seemed to have been about WTMDs, what you ask is not just a question to be asked about electronics. It should also be asked about food in cabin baggage.

In part for kicks, I decided to take a bunch of huge apples most bigger than cellphones of sort inside my carry-on with a whole bunch of electronics and related stuff for my flight yesterday as a PreCheck passenger using a dedicated PreCheck screening checkpoint. There was no extra inspection of my carry-ons and I didnt remove the food. In other parts of the world and even at the regular TSA screening line or at the TSA checkpoints where there is PreCheck light, this mix would generally mean that the bag is not getting cleared so fast and easily as with the regular PreCheck screening.
Try it with the same electronics and some cheese to snack on.
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