Make us your home page
Instagram

'Dance' moves could reduce TSA checkpoint hassles

Veteran air travelers call the ritual at airport checkpoints "the dance" — or worse.

Quart-size, zip-top bag full of bottled liquids in the plastic bin. Slip off your shoes. Empty your pockets. Take off the belt. Remove your laptop from its bag. Hold the boarding pass for the officer on the other side of the metal detector. Cha-cha-cha.

The Transportation Security Administration has two new initiatives designed to eliminate the two steps that annoy people most. One, at least, has the potential to make the experience a lot better.

Starting Saturday, security officers will let travelers keep laptops inside "checkpoint-friendly'' bags during X-ray screenings. The TSA contacted companies in March with standards for bags to receive the new designation.

Screeners must get a good look at electronics inside laptops to make sure nothing's been tampered with. So, the TSA ordered that the new bags — or anything in them — can't obstruct that image. To qualify, "laptop-friendly'' bags must have a separate laptop compartment that folds out to lie flat on the X-ray belt and has no pockets, metal snaps or zippers.

But travelers typically use laptop bags to carry cables, chargers and other accessories. There's no guarantee you won't be required to remove the laptop. And the agency won't let bagmakers say their product is TSA-approved. How many people will pay $100 or more for a product with so many caveats?

More promising are the upcoming tests of a machine that can sniff shoes for a bomb without travelers taking them off. The PassPort explosive-trace detectors look like a subway station turnstile. They puff air across a subject's waist, hands and shoes, and test for chemicals used in explosives.

Travelers can walk through the portal without stopping, says manufacturer L-3 Communications. The TSA last year rejected a shoe scanner made by General Electric for the Clear Registered Traveler program. That machine used X-rays to scan for bombs.

Passengers in the PassPort test at Los Angeles International won't save any time. Because the tests are designed to collect data, not catch shoe-bombers, they'll need to take off their shoes and put up with the standard screening.

Steve Huettel can be reached at huettel@sptimes.com or (813)-226-3384.

'Dance' moves could reduce TSA checkpoint hassles 08/12/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 13, 2008 1:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. The Iron Yard coding academy to close in St. Petersburg

    Business

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Iron Yard, a code-writing academy with a location in downtown St. Petersburg, will close for good this summer.

    Instructors (from left) Mark Dewey, Jason Perry, and Gavin Stark greet the audience at The Iron Yard, 260 1st Ave. S, in St. Petersburg during "Demo Day" Friday, Oct. 7, 2016, at The Iron Yard, which is an immersive code school that is part of a trend of trying to address the shortage of programmers.  The academy is closing this summer.  [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  2. Florida's unemployment rate drops for fourth straight month

    Markets

    How low can Florida's unemployment go? Pretty low, according to the state's latest unemployment numbers. The Sunshine State's unemployment rate dropped to 4.1 percent for June, down from 4.3 percent in May, state officials said Friday morning.

    Florida's unemployment level dropped to 4.1 percent in June from 4.3 percent in May. |  [Times file photo]
  3. Is sinkhole damage sinking Tampa Bay property values?

    Real Estate

    On a scale of desirability, the house for sale on Whittner Drive in Land O' Lakes would rank fairly low. It's a short sale; it sits on an unstabilized sinkhole and it's within a few miles of two houses that collapsed into a gargantuan hole July 16.

    A gated community in Hernando's Spring Hill area, Pristine Place has long been susceptible to sinkholes with nearly a third of its houses with documented sinkhole damage by 2012. Today, however, many houses with repaired sinkhole damage are selling for more than houses without any issues. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times file photo]
  4. The real estate pros in charge of Tampa's $3 billion makeover are younger than you think

    Working Life

    TAMPA — Brooke May, a 36-year-old senior construction project manager, knew she wanted to work for Strategic Property Partners the minute she met some team members involved with the group's massive downtown Tampa makeover.

    Matt Davis, Vice President of Development posed for a portrait in the Strategic Property Partners office in Channelside on July 12, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]
  5. St. Pete Beach may loosen beach drinking rules for hotel guests

    Local Government

    ST. PETE BEACH — Drinking a beer, a cocktail or a glass of wine may soon be legal on this city's beaches, but only for hotel guests in and around their hotel's beachfront cabanas.

    Registered hotel guests would be able to drink alcoholic beverages at their cabanas on the beach under a new rule the St. Pete Beach City Commission is considering.