US 'might' ban laptops on all international flights & TSA may make you unpack carry-ons

DHS Secretary John Kelly said the US 'might' extend the ban of laptops in cabins on all international flights. The TSA 'likely will' make travelers unpack carry-on bags and sort items into bins as part of increased aviation security.

tsa airport screening checkpoint passengers lax
Credit: REUTERS/Bob Riha Jr

The US “might” ban laptops from the cabin of all international flights into and out of the US and “likely will” require air travelers to unpack carry-on bags for TSA inspections.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace that the US “might” ban laptops from the cabin of all international flights into and out of the US.

Pressed to reveal more, Kelly added, “There’s a real threat. Numerous threats against aviation, that’s really the thing that they are obsessed with, the terrorists, the idea of knocking down an airplane in flight, particularly if it’s a U.S. carrier, particularly if it's full of mostly U.S. folks, people. It’s real.”

“We are going to raise the bar for, generally speaking, aviation security much higher than it is now,” Kelly added when talking about the potential of extending the ban of laptops to all international flights. “There’s new technologies down the road, not too far down the road, that we will rely on. But it is a real sophisticated threat and I will reserve that decision until we see where it's going.”

You know your carry-on bag stuffed with items to avoid paying airline fees for checked bags? Hopefully you don’t have anything too personal packed as you might have to pull it out and place it in a bin for TSA agents and nearby travelers to see as part of the increase to aviation security.

Unpack carry-ons for TSA inspections

As if there isn’t enough indignity associated with the TSA’s “enhanced” pat-down searches, air travelers should brace themselves for more privacy invasive searches since they may have to start unpacking their carry-on bags in screening lines to help the TSA determine exactly what they packed.

Despite carry-ons going through x-ray and other screening machines, DHS Secretary John Kelly told Wallace that the TSA can’t tell what packed items are or are not a threat. Therefore, the TSA “might and likely will” roll out increased security screenings for carry-on bags.

X-ray machines capture top-down and side views of scanned carry-ons, even color-codes what’s inside for screeners, but the TSA allegedly can’t tell what’s what in stuffed carry-ons. Common sense says that having to unpack crammed carry-ons and sort items into specific bins will take longer, but the TSA maintains that since screeners won’t have to perform manual bag checks, it will ultimately speed up the screening process.

The TSA is currently testing various carry-on inspection screenings in 10 airports. One failed test in the pilot program required travelers to unpack their carry-ons and place all electronics in one bin, food in one bin and paper in another bin.

Kelly said the TSA “likely will” roll out increased carry-on bag inspections nationwide. The reason for the increased security screenings, Kelly said, is because “people trying to avoid the $25 or $50, or whatever it is to check a bag, are now stuffing your carry-on bags to the point of, you know – well, they can't get any more in there. So, the more you stuff in there, the less the TSA professionals that are looking at what’s in those bags through the monitors, they can’t tell what's in the bags anymore.”

When Wallace asked if the TSA intends to roll out increased carry-on bag inspections nationwide soon, Kelly added, “Well, what we’re doing now is working out the tactics, techniques and procedures, if you will, in a few airports to find out exactly how to do that with the least amount of inconvenience to the traveler.”

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