New TSA guidelines ahead of holiday travel season

New TSA guidelines ahead of holiday travel season

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The Transportation Security Administration has new guidelines for travelers to keep in mind as they pack their suitcases for holiday travel.

These new rules will make you think twice before bringing extra electronics.

Stronger screening procedures are in place for carry-on bags at most airports, and will be in all airports by the beginning of December, according to TSA spokesperson Mark Howell. The new procedures were announced earlier this year, and will require all travelers to put electronics larger than cell phones into bins for X-ray screening. This applies to standard lines only, not TSA pre-check customers.

Once those electronics are removed, they must be placed into a bin with nothing on top or below it before being screened, a process similar to laptop screening.

TSA officials said it helps get a clearer image for screening, thereby keeping travelers safer. However, TSA acknowledged the extra measure could lead to longer lines, especially during the holiday season.

Howell said if people keep the rules in mind, lines should run smoothly. The more who people forget the rules, the more bags that will have to be screened more than once, keeping other travelers waiting.

This rule applies to electronics like Kindles, iPads and, of course, laptops. Howell said to also remember the other often forgotten rules while traveling.

"When you come to the checkpoint, don't bring wrapped gifts. If we have to do a bag search and there's something in that gift that alarms, we're going to have to unwrap it to do a visual inspection," he said. "So we strongly recommend if you're traveling with gifts to use gift bags, or just wait until you get to your destination to wrap them."

Myrtle Beach International Airport spokesperson Kirk Lovell said Wednesday a woman had to have a gift unwrapped as it went through screening. The TSA recommends gift bags, which can be easily opened without damage.

"Every rule that we've got in place is in place for a reason. It's due to intelligence that's happened in the real world or from intelligence we've gathered from our federal and local law enforcement officers," Howell said. "So you can see it here and how it's evolved over the years, from the shoes, to liquids, non-metallics and now it went on to electronics, and the reasons that we implement the rules is because we want to stay in front of the threat."

Howell also said to remove food before the screening process to avoid lines.

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