TSA Testing Screening Program At FLL, Other Airports To Improve Efficiency

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FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – It is one of the headaches of air travel – the TSA security screening process.

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After years of removing our shoes, laptops and some liquids at TSA security checkpoints, the list of items we need to separate at screening might be growing.

Food, papers and electronics larger than a cellphone might soon need to be placed in separate bins.

The TSA says it’s testing a program at several airports across the country, including Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International, where the program has been underway for about 18 months.

“What this pilot program is doing is showing us how we can save time and be efficient by pulling those items out initially and sending them through the x-ray so we can get the best look at them,” said TSA spokesperson Sari Koshetz.

TSA says by de-cluttering and removing more items at the beginning of the screening process it lessens the chance of a bag or electronic item needing re-screening.

Ultimately, they hope that will save time and maintain safety. Travelers we spoke with seem in favor of it.

“I think that if we can take it out ahead of time then maybe it will flow more quickly, so I’m not opposed to it,” said traveler Sasha Bartlett. “I think it’s a good idea.”

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Others want the focus to remain on safety.

“I’d rather be safe and have to wait a little longer then speed up the process, especially nowadays,” said traveler Alex Cieslak.

Other security features to protect the public and speed up screening might also be on the horizon — like a plan to add more 3D scanners which allow screeners to get a 36-degree view of the contents of someone’s bag with a few finger swipes.

The pilot program to de-clutter and separate more of our carry-on items would not apply to TSA Pre-check travelers.

Not everyone is convinced it will save time. Joy Keller thinks there’s another solution.

“I think you need more lines there, checking the luggage and things like that,” she said. “Because if someone has to open their luggage or open their purse, it takes too long.”

CBS News is reporting that if this program to declutter and separate more of our items is adopted nationwide it would likely be rolled out after the busy summer travel season.

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Of course one of the reasons that people try to get so many bags and items through security areas is to avoid baggage fees, so we’ll have to see how travelers might change their packing habits.