Flying Out of Fargo Over Break?

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) may ask you to remove your iPad mini or Bluetooth speaker from your carry-on bag while traveling out of Hector International Airport (HIA) this holiday season as a part of a new screening procedure.

This new procedure is “part of (TSA’s) efforts to stay ahead of evolving threats to the transportation system,” David Durgan, TSA security director for North Dakota said. According to TSA Spokesperson and Public Affairs Manager Lorie Dankers, the efforts will “focus on electronics.”

Previously, the only electronic passengers had to remove from their carry-on was a laptop, but they will now have to remove anything larger than a cellphone.

Passengers will have to place these items in their own bin — just like the current procedure with laptops — with nothing above or below them.

According to Dankers, this new procedure is intended to “increase the baseline of security” and will help increase clarity for TSA officials operating the X-ray machines.

“TSA officials will be available in front of the checkpoint X-ray machines to guide passengers through any changes in the screening process and give direction on what items will need to be removed from carry-ons and placed in a bin for X-ray screening.”

TSA has made no changes as to what you can bring to and through security; the only change is in the process. For instance, if you were flying with liquids, gels or aerosols in your carry-on you’d still have to remove those and put them in their own one-quart bag.

As expected, the implementation of new safety measures can lead to more time in the security line for travelers.

“Initally, we are seeing some delays,” Dankers said. These delays were seen in the 10 airports that varied in size and geographic location where the procedure was tested for more than 18 months.

To avoid this in Fargo, HIA is starting the practice this week and will not require all flyers to remove electronics from their carry-on. “During phase-in,” Dankers said, “some will be asked to do this, and others won’t.”

Only passengers prompted by TSA agents will have to do so and those in TSA Precheck need not worry.

The procedure is being phased in because of the increase in passengers HIA has during the holiday season.

However, once the program is fully initiated by “the first of the year,” all passengers are expected to do this. There will be signage up by that time reminding passengers of the changes.

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