TSA Now Requiring All Electronic Items Placed In Bins at SFO


Wow, flying out of SFO just became much worse. While traveling this morning I surprised to find out that TSA is now requiring that you remove all electronic devices from your carry-on bags, including cables, etc., and place them in a separate bin to be scanned at the security checkpoints. Along with slowing down the line to a crawl, this will undoubtedly lead to people losing expensive equipment, not to mention the possibility for your stuff to be accidentally taken by someone else or even stolen.

Of course none of this information is mentioned on either the TSA or SFO websites.

Does anyone know if TSA is requiring this at any other airports?

Here’s more coverage of this story:

Boing Boing
Wired Gadget Lab

UPDATE 1: How ironic, TSA just launched their new blog today “to provide here a forum for a lively, open discussion of TSA issues”. Maybe they can explain this new SFO policy.

UPDATE 2: There’s a discussion about this issue on the FlyerTalk forums. One person thinks it’s some kind of TSA test, but so far no official word from TSA.

UPDATE 3: Just to clarify a few details, this unique security requirement was requested of everyone (not just me) in all the security lines (both regular and first class) and took place at one of the domestic security checkpoints at SFO on Thursday, January 31st.

UPDATE 4: Mark Frauenfelder posted about my TSA experience at SFO on Boing Boing and there are quite a few comments from travelers over there as well.

UPDATE 5: Ok, so it looks like TSA does not handle the gate security at SFO. It is run by a security company called Covenant Aviation Security (CAS). This might explain the discrepancies. Maybe someone from CAS would be willing to explain why the sudden change in policy.

UPDATE 6: It appears that this blog post played a part in convincing TSA to end this unusual practice of screening individual electronic items.

UPDATE 7: The Examiner published an interview with me regarding this blog post about the TSA experiement.

photo by Scott Beale