New TSA Screening Rules Mean Your Airplane Snacks Are No Longer Safe

TSA security requirements have long confounded and irritated travelers, and it looks like they're not going to get simpler any time soon. Recent press releases from the Transportation Security Administration have announced that the agency has begun to implement stricter screening of passengers and their carry-on luggage at all airports across the country, with a specific focus on food and electronics.

Previously, the TSA had been testing these new screening processes at selected airports. The regulations have now expanded to airports across the country. Air travelers may now be asked to take out their food for inspection and further scanning, as passengers with a lot of food may be looked on with suspicion by the TSA. 

Passengers will also now be required to place all electronics larger than a cell phone or smartphone in separate bins for X-ray screening. The objects may be placed in the same bin, as long as they all have nothing on top of or underneath them. Previously, this was only required for laptop computers. This will be done in order to get a clearer X-ray image of devices that could be used to construct an explosive. The TSA has warned that passengers who fail to follow these instructions will be subject to a bag check, further slowing down the screening process for themselves and their fellow travelers.

As a result of these new rules, the recommended amount of time that passengers need to check in before take-off has increased. Passengers are encouraged to arrive 90 minutes ahead of departure time, and some airlines are even recommending that travelers arrive up to three hours before departure. All other TSA checkpoint requirements will stay in place, such as the 3-1-1 liquids rule for food and liquids and the requirement that passengers remove their shoes for screening. The list of items allowed through airport security has not changed either.

One method remains for avoiding these extra screening processes. Passengers enrolled in TSA PreCheck will not be required to separate their electronic devices, just as they are not required to separate their laptops, follow the 3-1-1 liquids rule, or take off shoes, belts, and light outerwear. TSA PreCheck allows the TSA to focus on higher-risk passengers, as those who have applied for and obtained TSA PreCheck have been certified as low-risk.

If you're the kind of traveler who prefers to bring your own snacks for the flight, you don't need to give that up. Here are 11 healthy and TSA-friendly homemade snacks that you can take with you in your carry-on.