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Lincoln Airport

The main entrance of the Lincoln Airport.

Journal Star file photo

More-extensive screening is coming to airport departure gates in Lincoln and Omaha, and passengers should plan accordingly.

The federally mandated screening will require travelers to remove cellphones and larger electronics, as well as food and some other items, from carry-on bags to be X-rayed separately, the Wall Street Journal has reported.

The change takes effect Monday at the Lincoln Airport and sometime in May at Omaha's Eppley Airfield. Lincoln Airport officials announced the timing here in a news release Friday, and the Omaha change was confirmed by Tim Schmitt, Eppley's director of operations.

To accommodate the extra screening, the Lincoln Airport says it will open security checkpoints 15 minutes earlier — or 75 minutes before flight departures.

A local TSA official didn't immediately respond to a call about how the change would impact travelers at Eppley.

The TSA started testing the new screening process, called Enhanced Accessible Property Screening, at a handful of airports around the country last year.

TSA administrator David Pekoske told the Wall Street Journal in November that checkpoints slowed as a result, which he credited to screeners and passengers getting used to the new procedures. 

However, he told the newspaper, it makes screening more effective, because remaining "items inside bags are easier to see clearly on X-ray screens. Mr. Pekoske calls it 'a significant enhancement to security,'" the Journal reported.

TSA PreCheck passengers won't be impacted because those travelers have been identified as low-risk, according to a TSA news release.

And while the changes won't require passengers to remove books or other reading materials, TSA agents might suggest it to reduce clutter for the X-ray machine, particularly if the items are heavy and glossy.

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Assistant city editor

Zach Pluhacek is an assistant city editor.

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