The Transportation Security Administration announced changes to checkpoint security procedures on Friday. The changes in policy will allow carry-on luggage with breast milk and lighters and will take effect on August 4th.
TSA says the changes will allow the administration to focus on larger threats to airline security.
“Explosives remain the most significant threat to aviation,” said Kip Hawley TSA administrator according to a press release issued by the government agency. “By enabling our officers to focus on the greatest threats we are using our officers’ time and energy more effectively and increasing security for passengers.”
TSA collects more than 22,000 lighters a day throughout the country at its security checkpoints. The lighters represent a large percentage of the total number of items that are surrendered at security checkpoints.
By lifting this ban, the United States is further aligning itself with international security standards. The United States has been the only airport security to ban lighters in the world.
Internationally, the 3-1-1 standard for liquids, gels, and aerosols is standard procedure, with over 59 countries throughout the world adopting the measure. The 3-1-1 rule refers to three ounces or less in a single one quart clear bag with a limit of one per traveler. The bag must also be placed outside of carry on luggage and declared at the security checkpoint.
TSA has also modified its rules governing breast milk. Now a mother may transport over 3 ounces of breast milk even without her child, as long as the milk is declared for inspection.
According to TSA’s press release, the modification of these procedures is the result of effectiveness studies, feedback from airports and airlines, and input from the officers employed by TSA. This modification in security checkpoint regulations is the third to occur within the past year.
The largest change to TSA policy since its inception was the ban on gels, liquids, and aerosols set into place on August 10, 2006. This was in response to a terror plot that was uncovered in the United Kingdom. Later, in September of 2006, the ban was modified to the current allowances of travel-sized liquids.
For smokers and mothers excited about the new changes, keep in mind they are not yet effective. TSA has already announced the changes to Congress, but they must retrain the 43,000 officers that work for the administration.
SOURCES: Transportation Security Administration, “TSA Announces Procedural Changes at the Checkpoint.” PR Newswire. URL: (http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104 STORY;=/www/story/07-20-2007/0004629473 EDATE;=)