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TSA to fliers: We already told you we screen drinks at the gate

September 06, 2012|By Mary Forgione | Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
  • A video of TSA agents testing liquids for explosives at an airline gate in Columbus, Ohio, was posted on YouTube by danno02. It became the source of an NBC news story.
A video of TSA agents testing liquids for explosives at an airline gate in… (Screen grab from youtube.com )

If you didn't know the Transportation Security Administration might screen your Starbucks or water bottle for explosives even after you have passed through airport security, you just haven't been paying attention.

That's the word from the TSA after a YouTube video posted Monday said it showed passengers opening a coffee cup and a water bottle for safety screening at an airport gate in Columbus, Ohio.

NBC picked up the story that the agency says just isn't news.

"We have been testing liquids for years as part of our random gate screening," the TSA said in a statement. A post on the TSA Blog dated July 5 says such testing began in summer 2007.

Many of us mistakenly believe that after we've been through a security checkpoint, we're entitled to buy and drink more than 3 ounces of any liquid we like without being disturbed. Not so.

The video also shows it's not just people obviously drinking coffee or water who are singled out; some travelers appeared to be asked to reach into their carry-on bags to display their liquid of choice for testing.

Here's how the process works: "The test involves a test strip and a dropper containing a nontoxic solution," the blog post says. "In case you're wondering, our officers don't place the test strips in your beverages/liquids. They simply have the passenger remove the cap/lid and they hold the strip over the opening of the container. Procedures call for moving the test strip to the side and applying the solution from the dropper to test the strip."

Nothing has changed with the TSA's rules about screening liquids before you pass through security. If you need a refresher, check out what's permitted and what isn't at the TSA website

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