New Way to Bag Airport Delays

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Can a simple plastic bag help alleviate the long lines expected to clog airport security checkpoints during the holiday travel season?

The Transportation Security Administration, working with Travel Sentry, a consortium of travel product companies, is conducting a test at seven airports around the country to see if providing travelers with Ziploc bags for their car keys, change, watches and other pocket items will speed up passenger security screenings.

"Initial indications show it has worked. It has been speeding up the back end of the process," says TSA spokeswoman Amy von Walter.

The plastic sacks, slightly larger than a sandwich bag and some printed with advertising, make it easier for passengers to move quickly through the metal detectors and retrieve their property from the screening bins afterward, says John Vermilye, Travel Sentry's managing director. Last year, the Washington-based group helped luggage makers develop a series of new baggage locks that allow federal security screeners with standardized keys to gain access to locked luggage without harming it.

David Rowell, publisher of Travel Insider newsletter in Seattle, says using bags "in theory should help a little bit." He says the small bags encourage waiting travelers to get their loose items ready before they go into the X-Ray machine. The longest delay in most lines is when passengers are stopped at the X-Ray machine without having emptied their pockets, he says.

The bags are being used at airports in San Francisco, Nashville, St. Louis, Kansas City, Washington, Oakland and Colorado Springs. Orlando International Airport will start using the bags Monday.

TSA officials say use of bags will be expanded to other airports throughout the country if it speeds backlogs during the holidays.

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Ban Plastic Bag from B12 Solipsism on July 24, 2007 9:46 AM

Similar measures are being considered in Boston; Baltimore; Oakland, Calif.; Portland, Ore.; Santa Monica, Calif.; and Steamboat Springs, Colo.Alexandra Cousteau, granddaughter of Jacques Cousteau and director of EarthEcho, an environmental education g... Read More

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