The next time you load up the kids and head to the airport for your next trip, be sure to familiarize yourself with the TSA’s policy on snacks. In a recommendation last year by the Transportation Security Administration, agents can now request that you remove all food and snacks from your carry-on luggage in order to be screened.
That’s right, now you can expect to pull out your electronics, liquids AND snacks and place them in separate bins as you wrangle your kids (all without belts or shoes) through security checkpoints. It should be noted that the removal of snacks and food is a recommendation and not an official policy change making it a requirement, so it’s hit and miss whether you’ll be asked to remove your snacks at your local airport. (Representatives for the Transportation Security Administration did not immediately return Red Tricycle’s request for comment.)
Travelers have reported a rise in requests to remove food items within the last year since the recommendation was announced. Ultimately, it’s up to screening supervisors to decide if their staff will request that your bags be emptied of food and snacks—or not.
The recommendation came as a means to avoid unnecessary bag flags that require a separate and more thorough trip through the x-ray machine, which clogs up lines and slows everyone on their way to their gates. However, travelers still report a noticeable slowing of lines through security, as people rush to empty their backpack when they come into contact with this new “policy” that’s pretty unexpected.
What does all this mean for parents? Mainly, only a few minutes of longer wait times to get through security (though TSA is reporting this isn’t necessarily the case). Rest assured that unlike water bottles, your food won’t be confiscated and you will get it back to enjoy on your flight and pacify the kiddos.
Even though this new move by the TSA isn’t officially policy and it may not be in effect at your regional airport, it won’t come as a huge surprise then next time you’re asked to empty your bag for the x-ray machine.
featured photo: Hansen Lu via Unsplash