CHANTILLY, Va. — When you fly out of one of the D.C. area’s three airports, expect to take more items out of your bag during the screening process.
New enhanced screening measures, announced over the summer, are now being phased into security lines by the Transportation Security Administration.
“We’re doing this because the threat is real; we know that terrorists are out there targeting the aviation industry, and now is the time to do something like this, to take this measure,” said Lisa Farbstein of the TSA.
For years, passengers have been required to remove laptops from their carry-on bags and place them in bins, which are then placed in a screening machine.
Now, travelers will be required to remove all electronics larger than a smartphone and place them in bins. When placing them in the bins, passengers are also told to not have anything above or below the devices.
Farbstein said the phase in has begun at Dulles International, Reagan National and BWI Marshall airports. Right now at Dulles, only a couple of lanes are utilizing the new techniques.
“We’re doing it little by little, so as TSA officers get trained, we add another lane,” Farbstein added. The new security measures do not apply to travelers enrolled in the pre-screening program, known as TSA PreCheck.
The additional steps are being added to address the current terror threat and allow TSA officers to get a clearer look at electronic items, the agency said.
The new steps also come during a 120-day period where enhanced U.S. airport screenings are required to be implemented after a laptop ban was lifted. That ban affected several Middle Eastern airlines.
Farbstein added, though not required, the TSA is also asking passengers to consider removing food items and placing them in a bin. Those foods can often trigger alarms and lead to bag searches.