New rules require small electronics be taken out of carry-on bags

Augusta Regional Airport passengers go through the Transportation Security Administration checkpoint Monday. Beginning Tuesday, all electronics larger than a cell phone will need to be placed in an individual bin. DAMON CLINE/STAFF

The days of arriving at Augusta Regional Airport an hour before your flight departs might be coming to an end.

 

A new Transportation Security Administration policy requiring all electronic devices larger than a cell phone be placed in bins for X-ray screening takes effect Tuesday in Augusta. That, along with higher passenger volume at the airport, means it would be wise to arrive at least two hours before departure.

“We have larger aircraft coming through, which means longer ticket counter and TSA lines, which can delay passengers if they show up under an hour to their flight,” Augusta Regional spokeswoman Lauren Smith said.

Airport enplanements during October, the latest month for which statistics are available, were 246,682 or 5.5 percent higher than October 2016, when 233,808 flew out of Augusta.

The TSA security policy, rolled out earlier this year at select airports nationwide, requires passengers to place devices such as tablets, e-readers and game consoles in bins at security checkpoints. Previously, only laptop computers had to be removed from carry-on bags.

The TSA says the policy helps officers obtain a clearer X-ray image and more closely identify threats.

“The simple step of separating personal electronic items for screening allows TSA officers to more closely focus on resolving alarms and stopping terror threats,” TSA spokesman Mark Howell said in a statement.

Officers will ask travelers to remove the devices from their bags and place them in bins with nothing on top or below the item, similar to how laptops have been screened for years.

The policy affects no other TSA rules, but the agency recommends travelers arrive at the airport at least two hours prior to departure to account for the extra time it will take passengers to remove their items from carry-on bags.

The new security measures do not apply to passengers enrolled in TSA PreCheck, the program allowing travelers identified as trusted or low-risk passengers to go through expedited screening at 200 airports nationwide. PreCheck passengers do not need to remove their shoes, belts, laptops, electronics or liquids.

Reach Damon Cline at (706) 823-3352 or damon.cline@augustachronicle.com.

AIRPORT ENTERTAINMENT

Augusta Regional Airport holiday travelers can enjoy the sights and sounds of the season from Dec. 15-23 in the airport’s gate area. The nine days of Christmas entertainment also includes a visit from Santa Dec. 20-23.

The Airport’s Holiday Performance Series event schedule is available at flyags.com/WinterWonderland.

“The holidays are a special time and we strive to provide a stress free, fun, experience when traveling through AGS,” Airport Director Herbert Judon Jr. said.

 

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