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TSA Grey Plastic Bins

I flew domestically last week, NewarkNJ-Chicago-NewarkNJ. I was startled to find that there were no longer grey plastic bins at security, and that the 3-1-1 Quart bags were to be left inside my carry-on, as well as my tablet computer. My shoes, ski jacket and sport jackets had to be laid directly on the belt. I looped my belt through the handles of the carry-on. (This was a general admission line, with a magnetometer rather than a body-scanner. But I saw no grey bins anywhere else, either.)

Even the Business Travel column in the NY Times hasn't mentioned a general policy change. Have others found this elsewhere? The concourse I left from at EWR has many, many international flights, BTW.

Posted by
223 posts

I noticed the same thing, I think, in Philadelphia yesterday (I'm 99% sure - you can look at trip reports to see why). I was in the precheck line for readmission to the US. It was odd. I kept on my shoes, gave up my coat, kept on my cardigan. I 'nestled' my pocketbook/carryon (which had my electronics and bags) on my coat to protect it. This must be a money saving thing, as it doesn't really help customers. Sashes from coats (not mine, because I saw it and tied up my sash) caused a traffic jam and confusion.

Posted by
19149 posts

The TSA website still talks about putting things in bins.

Last time (2009) I flew to Germany via EWR, I had to transfer terminals and go back through security at the new terminal. They ran out of bins on the entrance side so no one was going through. The TSA workers couldn't figure out why and kept looking at us like 'why aren't you coming through?' It took about 10 minutes before they figured it out and brought us some bins.

Posted by
1068 posts

I could be wrong but when I flew from OR to AZ in June the situation was as you described it. One of the TSA folks intimated they were experimenting with faster check ins. Some people did the old way (liquids out etc.) my line did not. Last month when I flew overseas (from OR) I had to go the old way..... So I thought the procedure in June was a trial.

Posted by
23428 posts

You probably were in the TSA pre check line where none of the normal stripping occurs so the plastic bins are a minimum. You just walk through keeping everything on or in the bag.

Posted by
19149 posts

"You probably were in the TSA pre check line"

My thought too, at first, but the OP indicated he was in the "general admission" line.

Posted by
9106 posts

Yeah, you were in pre-check. When the lines back up they will sometimes shift people in the regular lines to pre-check. I flew to LAX out of Newark a few weeks ago in the regular TSA line and the usual rules applied bins, liquids out, computers out, shoes off, belt off.....all strictly enforced.

Posted by
8520 posts

The OP should be considered a credible witness to whether he/she was in the prescreen line and the OP said they were not. I know that the general TSA line at SEATAC recently told people they could keep toiletries in their bags, so this may indeed by the wave of the future.

Posted by
9106 posts

The OP should be considered a credible witness to whether he/she was
in the prescreen line

All the TSA folks need to do is retract one the dividers, tell you to turn right instead of left and abracadabra you entered the regular line and unknowingly end up in the pre-check line, happens everyday.

Posted by
7496 posts

Because of the magnetometer arch, it may be reasonable to imagine that I was diverted into the PreCheck "physical screening". But my magnetometer was in the absolute center of six or more screening belts, and PreCheck is usually at one extreme side. I can't testify in court to that, however. As noted, I did not have "TSAPre" on my boarding pass. I went back and forth (inside the secure area) after putting my change back in my pockets and saw that there were NO grey bins on any of the belts in operation at Checkpoint 1 (of 3) of Newark Terminal C.

I will add that we had dinner tonight with Belgian friends who flew home from Newark in October, 2014 (and are now back for business), and they reported that their family of 3, on Belgian passports, had no grey bins on that outbound trip.

Posted by
16894 posts

One of TSA's stated objectives is to avoid becoming predictable.

Posted by
7496 posts

Thanks for the contribution Laura. I don't see how eliminating grey bins and no longer pretending to look at the Quart bags or the computers improves security. My reason for posting was that I would have "prepared" for the screening differently, in an effort to avoid delaying myself or other travelers. And, of course, to avoid losing things during the screening. I used the subject line about Grey Bins because while cumbersome, it was a useful organizational tool for me.

Just to give another example, back before elderly people could leave their shoes on, I knelt next to my mother and let her put her hand on my shoulder while she took of her shoes, one at a time. I did that before the Tensabarrier rope-maze line, out of consideration for other travelers. It also made my life easier. I don't think the TSA actually prefers to surprise us with new policies.

Posted by
2764 posts

Moving those bins is just way too much work for the Thousands Standing Around. I mean it requires actual labor and they were not hired to do that or to do much besides stand there and provide security theater. They could care less if you are not happy with this LOL!

As for not looking at the baggies being a failure to provide security that assumes the baggies actually do ANYTHING to assist in actually keeping you safe. Since this is part of the "Show" and has no real impact on your security looking at them was just part of the act that's been eliminated.