Bad news for frequent fliers in the United States: the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced Wednesday that iPads and tablets will have to join notebooks in separate security bins for individual x-ray screenings.
Following extensive pilot testing at 10 airports across the country, the TSA has decided to bring the policy to all U.S. airports in the weeks and months ahead, whether you’re flying to, from or within the country. The security procedure will apply to all electronic devices “larger than a cell phone.” That wording is vague, but presumably, it’ll apply to all iPads and similar devices including handheld gaming tablets and e-readers, but probably not phablets.
Similar to how notebooks and laptops have been screened for years, tablet-sized devices will now be placed in a bin with nothing on top or below them. Additionally, the policy will also apply to Apple’s smaller-sized notebooks — like the MacBook Air and 12-inch MacBook — which previously could be left in bags through screenings.
There’s currently no word on when exactly the policy will take place at your local airport, but it is already in effect across 10 airports throughout the country, including LAX, Detroit Metropolitan, McCarran International and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International. The TSA also noted that travelers may be subject to more bag checks than usual, due to “extensive testing.”
Whether you think the TSA’s policies make us safer or they’re just a prime example of security theater, there’s little doubt that the new policy will make air travel a bit more annoying in the future. And, of course, there’s always the possibility of even longer and bogged down lines at security — so plan accordingly.
“By separating 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,” the Administration’s Huban Gowadia said.