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TSA testing 3-D scanners for carry-on bags

DALLAS (AP) - Federal officials are screening some carry-on bags with 3-D scanning technology, which they say improves the ability to find bombs.

The Transportation Security Administration said Thursday that it is testing computed-tomography, or CT, scanning at one checkpoint at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. 

The technology is already used for screening checked luggage, but the cost and larger size of the CT scanners has held back their use for carry-on bags.

CT scanners create a 3-D image that can be rotated to give screeners a better look. Suspicious bags can be pulled aside and opened by screeners.

American Airlines, which is participating in the test, said the technology could let passengers leave laptops, liquids and aerosols in their carry-on bags, speeding up the trip through the airport.

The test comes as U.S. officials scramble to deal with potential new threats. That fear led the government to ban laptop and tablet computers from the cabins of airliners headed to the U.S. from some Middle Eastern and African nations.

The ban on laptops in the cabin is based on the belief that a bomb in the cargo hold would need to be bigger than one in the cabin, and capable of remote detonation. Plus, checked luggage already goes through computed-tomography screening while carry-on bags don't.

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