Effective immediately, your wait at airport security may be a little shorter. That's because the Transportation Security Administration has adopted a new list of prohibited carry-on items intended to make airport screenings more time-sensitive.
Now, instead of searching through bags to test whether a small pair of scissors, tweezers or nail clippers are sharp or dull, security agents will have more time to identify and prevent serious threats.
"We're spending a huge amount of time worrying about a small pair of scissors, when we could be doing other things that will make more of a difference," said Tom Williams, CEO of the Meridian Airport Authority.
"With the relaxed regulations, the TSA list of prohibited items is no longer current. Tools are no longer prohibited, as long as they measure less than 7 inches. And sharp scissors are now allowed, as long as the blade measures less than 4 inches. However, your favorite lighter is still off limits," said Williams.
"It's the little things that you could do with the lighter. A 7-inch blade you might could use against one person. The lighter you could detonate a device that could take out a lot of people," said Williams.
It's not that security is becoming more lax, officials say. It's that security and scanning equipment has been refined to the point that the original procedures are no longer necessary. Williams says it's just going to get better.
"I think we have a very safe and secure system today," Williams said.
"However, it can be better and the new technology is what's going to make it faster and more efficient."
And ultimately, Williams says that's the goal of the process, to get passengers through the security checkpoint more quickly and efficiently.
For a complete list of prohibited items, visit the TSA website at www.tsa.gov.