Now all they need is more cooperation from the travelers.
The Transportation Security Administration said Thursday that officers there are finding an abundance of prohibited items in baggage with the new machines, which use the same technology as medical scanners and provide a similarly detailed 3D image.
Every time someone packs a knife, tool longer than seven inches, or an oversized bottle of liquid, the bag must be pulled from the conveyor belt and manually inspected for the offending item.
Searches take two to three minutes, which is rapidly increasing at a time when Americans are returning in droves to an air travel system completely ill-equipped to ramp up passenger numbers.
“We’re starting to see a significant increase in the size of checkpoints here in Albany,” Bart Johnson, director of federal security for the Transportation Security Administration in upstate New York, said in a news release.
“Travel volume here is around 90 percent of pre-pandemic levels and by the 4th of July weekend we could see the checkpoint is occupied or exceed pre-pandemic levels.”
He said travelers should be aware of this, and plan accordingly.
Airlines are understaffed in the wake of the pandemic-related cuts to air travel, as is the TSA itself — it’s holding job fairs in Albany to boost its ranks.
The five new scanners installed at the airport this spring are powerful tools, and the TSA suggested travelers should re-acquaint themselves with the rules about what can and can’t be packed before running their carry-on bags through the scanners.
Knives and gasoline are of course forbidden, but can alcohol be brought on board? Yes, provided it is no more than 140 proof and the bottle is no more than 3.4 ounces.
Aerosol insecticides? number!
Bowling pins? number!
live lobsters? Can!
Razor blades and grenades? If you have to ask, you already know the answer.
The list is extensive, but the TSA website is very helpful with the finer details.
With airports becoming increasingly crowded, the TSA recommends travelers arrive at least two hours before their scheduled departure time.
She said the busiest times at the security checkpoint in Albany are 5-6 a.m. and 4-5 p.m. The busiest travel days are Sunday, Monday, Thursday and Friday.
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