The Transportation Security Administration's updated rules for passenger carry-on screenings are finally taking effect in Buffalo. On Thursday, TSA officials offered a demonstration of the new rules and what must now be unpacked from carry-on bags during the screening process.
In addition to laptops, smartphones and larger electronic devices must be unpacked from carry-on baggage and placed in bins for screening. The new rules are, according to TSA officials, being implemented as part of its primary job, which is protecting passengers from terrorists who may eye the nation's airlines as their target.
"Fortunately, TSA reacts to that threat," said Bart Johnson, a Federal Security Director for the TSA who is responsible for 14 airports including Buffalo Niagara International Airport. "They understand the threat and are constantly evolving to keep pace and actually keep one step ahead of the terrorists. This new procedure is really a strengthening and an enhancing of our screening process and protocols."
By requiring more electronics are unpacked for screening, Johnson suggests TSA personnel will be able to do a more effective job checking carry-on items. But he does advise travelers planning to fly out of Buffalo that as the new rules are implemented and personnel are becoming accustomed to the additional steps, there will be some increased waits.
"It is involved training. We've been training for the past several weeks," he said. "We anticipate Buffalo to be fully implemented in the coming weeks, once we feel comfortable that we could do it effectively, in accordance with the SOPs (standard operating procedures)."