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Here’s why you may not have to remove your laptop at TSA checkpoints this summer

March 26, 2022
3 min read
Here’s why you may not have to remove your laptop at TSA checkpoints this summer
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If you’re tired of removing your laptop from your bag at airport security checkpoints, there’s good news. The TSA recently approved a multi-million dollar contract that will bring hundreds of three-dimensional scanners to airport checkpoints across the country.

The $781.2 million contract awarded by the agency earlier this month will bring just shy of 1,000 Computed Tomography (CT) x-ray scanners to TSA checkpoints. The machines, which will be used to scan carry-on baggage, should start appearing in airports by this summer.

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For travelers, this means more convenience and peace of mind, the TSA said.

“It brings a whole other level of security to checkpoints,” TSA southeast spokesperson Mark Howell told TPG in an interview Friday. “It’s much like the CT scan machines you see at the hospital. And the difference in security is really [like] the difference between a map and a globe.”

(Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

The new technology also means travelers — including those without TSA PreCheck — would no longer have to remove items like liquids and electronic devices from carry-on baggage before they enter the scanner.

According to the TSA, the new scanners use “sophisticated algorithms” to detect prohibited items like guns, explosives and other items passengers are not allowed to carry on the plane. The technology creates 3D images of the items in a bag, and allows officers to not just view, but also rotate the image to analyze potential threats.

Related: Why you should get TSA PreCheck and Clear

This move represents the latest step by the TSA as part of an effort TPG has reported on for years to modernize and upgrade checkpoint technology. Just last summer, the agency announced a nearly $200 million contract for CT X-ray systems of a different size. The agency says those machines are in the process of being installed at checkpoints across the country.

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(Photo courtesy of the TSA)

With this larger number of scanners expected at airports this summer, Howell anticipates more opportunities for travelers to leave electronics like laptops in their carry-on luggage.

Related: Back to the future for TSA luggage screening?

It’s a change that he anticipates will not be immediate. “It’s going to take some time, obviously, [for] a deployment of that size,” he said. But ultimately he expects the new technology will speed up security lines, too.

As the machines begin to roll out to airports, Howell suggests passengers pay close attention to what agents tell them as they wait in line. If their checkpoint has the new technology, he pointed out, “You may not have to remove your stuff.”

It’s important to note, the new technology does not change how passengers themselves are screened. That means those without TSA PreCheck would still have to remove their shoes, belts and outerwear in some cases.

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees