Posted by: ohksatriaku | November 5, 2007

Passenger Security Checkpoints A Three Step Process

You must pass through this checkpoint to access your departure gate. Security Officers will screen you and your carry-on baggage. You should find this screening process familiar, although enhanced security measures are in place.

Travelers may now carry through security checkpoints travel-size toiletries (3 ounces or less) that fit comfortably in ONE, QUART-SIZE, clear plastic, zip-top bag. If you refuse to be screened at any point during the screening process, the Security Officer will deny you entry beyond the screening area. You will not be able to fly.

The passenger checkpoint includes three primary steps you may want to become familiar with:

Step 1. The X-ray machine

At the passenger security checkpoint, you will place all carry-on baggage and any items you are carrying with you on the belt of the X-ray machine. You will need to lay all items flat.

NOTE: TSA will screen any carry-on baggage that will fit through the X-ray machine, however, it is up to each individual air carrier as to whether the baggage fits the size restrictions for your flight.  Please check with the air carrier prior to proceeding through the security checkpoints.

Laptop computers and video cameras with cassettes must be removed from their carrying cases and placed in one of the bins provided. You will also need to remove your coat, jacket, suit jacket or blazer and place it in one of the bins. These items go through the X-ray machine.

“IN – OUT – OFF”

  • Place all metal items IN your carry-on baggage before you reach the front of the line.  
  • Take your computer and video cameras with cassettes OUT of their carrying case and place it in one of the bins provided.
  • Take OFF your coat or jacket so that it can go through the X-ray machine.  This includes, but is not limited to, trench coats, heavy winter coats, suit jackets, sport coats, an blazers.

TSA Shoe Screening Policy

You ARE REQUIRED to remove your shoes before you enter the walk-through metal detector. All types of footwear must be screened, if you do not follow the Security Officers you will not be able to board your flight.

TIP: Since a thorough screening includes X-ray inspection of footwear, wearing footwear that is easily removable helps to speed you through the screening process.

Step 2. Walk-through metal detector

You will next walk through a metal detector, (or you may request a pat-down inspection instead). Objects on your clothing or person containing metal may set off the alarm on the metal detector.

You will undergo additional screening if you set off the alarm on the metal detector, or if you are chosen for additional screening. (See below)

TIP: Pack all metal items, including the contents of your pockets, in your carry-on baggage. Mobile phones, pagers, keys, and loose change are examples of items containing metal.

Step 3. Additional screening

Additional screening occurs when an individual sets off the alarm on the metal detector, or if he or she is selected for the additional screening. This screening includes a hand-wand inspection in conjunction with a pat-down inspection that includes the torso.

If you must go through additional screening, the screener will direct you from the metal detector to a screening station where he or she will brief you on the next steps.

  • At this time, you should let the screener know of any personal needs you may have due to a religious or cultural consideration, disability, or other medical concern.
  • Except in extraordinary circumstances, a screener of your gender will conduct your additional screening. You may request that your search be conducted in private.

While you will be separated from your carry-on baggage during this process, every effort will be made to help you maintain visual contact with your carry-ons.

Hand-Wand Inspection

The hand-wand inspection helps the screener to identify what may have set off the alarm on the metal detector.

During the wanding procedure, you will be asked to stand with your feet apart and the screener will pass the wand over your entire body without actually touching you with the wand. Every effort will be taken to do this as discretely as possible. Please take note of the following:

  • Areas of the body that have body piercings, thick hair, hats, and other items may require a pat-down inspection.
  • You may ask to remove your body piercing in private as an alternative to the pat-down search that includes the torso.
  • The screener may ask you to open your belt buckle as part of the process.
  • The screener may ask you to remove your shoes, and your shoes may be X-rayed separately.

TIP: It is recommended (but not a requirement) that individuals with a pacemaker, or other device that is likely to alarm the metal detector, bring identification verifying the condition. This may help to expedite the screening process.

Carry-On Baggage

If your bag is selected for additional screening, it may be opened and examined on a table in your presence. Please DO NOT attempt to assist the Security Officer during the search, and do not attempt to retrieve the item before the Security Officer has advised you that the search is complete and your baggage is cleared.

Your baggage might also be inspected with an Explosive Trace Detection machine (ETD), which is separate from the X-ray machine.

Pat-Down Inspection

A pat-down inspection complements the hand-wand inspection. In order to ensure security, this inspection may include sensitive areas of the body. Security Officers are rigorously trained to maintain the highest levels of professionalism.  You may request that your pat-down inspection be conducted in private.

Source: Transportation Security Administration (TSA)


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