Recently, I was flying from New York City to Nashville and was enjoying my "TSA Pre Check" expedited line. At the moment of truth (the X ray machine), I noted the screeners were asking passengers to remove snacks from their bags and place them in those convenient grey bins. I honestly didn't think much of it. First the shoes, the liquids, the laptops, the outerwear and NOW they've come for the snacks. However, this happened again at another airport a couple of days later so I decided to do some digging.
Here's a Washington Post article highlighting some of the hand-ringing.
This is NOT a new policy. It was a recommendation made by the TSA to its airports and screeners in an effort to avoid a manual, time-consuming search. Apparently the X Ray machines have a hard time deciphering a plastic explosive from a protein bar. And, if you stop to think about it, it makes sense. However, the public's response has been less-than understanding. I spoke with Lisa Farbstein from the the TSA and the recommendation seems pretty straight-forward.
"As part of its counter terrorism efforts, TSA continuously enhances and adjusts security screening procedures to stay ahead of evolving threats. TSA’s top priority is to protect the traveling public, and every policy and security procedure in place is designed to mitigate threats to passengers and the aviation sector – which we know our adversaries continue to target. Adjustments to screening procedures are a necessary part of operations and TSA does so in the most efficient and effective way possible while maintaining a positive passenger experience."
I say, let it go.
The TSA is responsible for keeping us safe in the the airport and on planes. They have to stay one step ahead of the evil-doers. Their polices recommendations and practices are not arbitrary. As a matter of fact (according to the TSA), The TSA screens more than TSA screens 4.9 million carry-on items for explosives and other prohibited items every day!
My flights are usually North American which means I don't carry a lot of (or any other than mints and gum) "snacks" through security. The same goes for when I travel with my children...who seem to snack on an almost constant basis.
If you must fly with snacks, I suggest you purchase them on the plane or at the airport after security. Some in the travel industry refer to the time we spend after security and before you board your plane "the golden hour". If you MUST bring them from home, place all snacks in a clear zip lock bag for easy removal and placement in a bin.
No need to fret, contemplate or complain on Social Media, its just a safety precaution.
My two cents.
I am on a mission to get you traveling more often. As the host of the nationally syndicated television television for PBS and the Create channel, Beyond Your Backyard, I travel (on average) 25 weeks per year. I am very grateful for the opportunity to meet cool people, experience new places, eat delicious food and work with the best production crew in the world. Hopefully, through this blog, you will join me on my travels and be reminded just how exciting it is to be alive!