Airports Tighten Security for Console Carry-ons

Console-carrying gamers traveling via air this weekend got a surprise at security checkpoints, with new regulations mandating the removal of full-size video game consoles and DVD players from carry-on luggage for separate X-ray screening. The previously unannounced rule by the Transportation Security Administration went into effect Saturday and brings game consoles and DVD players under the same regulations as laptop computers, cassette-using video cameras, and certain breathing machines.

"This was actually a policy recommendation that came from one of our security officers," TSA spokesperson Jennifer Peppin told Shacknews. "This change brings just a little more uniformity to our policy and helps our screeners do their job better."

The TSA Web site specifically references the PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo-made consoles on a Web page detailing the enhanced security measure. Handheld gaming devices like the Nintendo DS or PSP and portable electronics like MP3 players are unaffected by the change and do not need to be removed from carry-on luggage.

The rule alteration does not mean consoles will be subject to further scrutiny, such as swab testing for explosives, other than the separate X-ray screening, Peppin said. Two other policy changes went into effect Saturday actually relaxing current TSA regulations, allowing commmon lighters in carry-on luggage as well as greater-than-three-ounce quantities of breast milk.

Peppin said the TSA did not announce the newly implemented rules regarding full-size consoles and DVD players in advance because of the relative unimportance of these items compared to the other changes. "We don't see a lot of full-size consoles and full-size DVD players coming through," she said.