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After flap over removing paper items from bags at KCI, TSA puts an end to practice

Passengers going through security checkpoints at Kansas City International Airport say they recently have been asked to remove all paper products, including books, loose-leaf paper, Post-It notes and files, so they could be screened separately.
Passengers going through security checkpoints at Kansas City International Airport say they recently have been asked to remove all paper products, including books, loose-leaf paper, Post-It notes and files, so they could be screened separately. The Star

Can it get to be any more of a hassle to fly? Apparently so.

Passengers at Kansas City International Airport say they recently have been asked to remove all paper products from their carry-ons while going through security screening checkpoints.

That includes all books, loose-leaf paper, Post-It notes and files. They’ve been told by screeners that the new procedures are part of a pilot program that is being rolled out nationwide.

“Like federalized airports, random and unpredictable screening measures may be used,” the TSA said an in emailed statement to The Star. “As a result, passengers may be asked to remove certain items from their carry-on luggage during the security screening process.”

The additional screening procedures were implemented by the contractor, which it is allowed to do if it follows TSA guidelines, a TSA spokesman said Wednesday evening.

Akal Security Inc., based in Española, N.M., is contracted to provide security at KCI through the TSA’s Screening Partnership Program. The company took over security at KCI in 2015 under a five-year, $108 million contract.

The TSA, however, asked the contractor to stop the additional screening Tuesday because it was affecting operations, the TSA spokesman said.

It’s believed the contractor started the added screening procedures over the weekend.

The TSA also has no plans to roll out the additional screening nationwide, the spokesman said.

News of the extra screening procedures broke on Twitter, with several passengers asking the TSA for an explanation.

Audrey Meirer tweeted that a friend confirmed that paper is being screened separately by security screeners.

A story by KSHB was picked up by the travel advice website The Points Guy.

“This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of this, but nonetheless it’s still a shock,” Emily McNutt wrote in the article. “Earlier this year, there was a similar incident with author Roxanne Gay when she was forced to remove her books from her bag and put them in a bin.”

The article said that incident came about the same time the TSA announced a new pat-down method.

Abby Dark Star asked on Twitter, “What was up with this ‘new rule’ that Kansas City Airport is doing with ALL paper, books, food items have to be out? Even pre-check?”

The TSA responded on its @AskTSA Twitter account that it uses layered security and for security reasons doesn’t disclose its screening processes.

When pressed, @AskTSA responded that books, magazines and other paper products may be screened to make sure dangerous items aren’t hidden inside.

Other passengers said on Twitter that they too were asked to remove food and paper items at the checkpoint.

Transportation Security Administration officers have kept a lot of dangerous and often times wacky items off of commercial aircraft this year. Here is their list of the top 10 most unusual finds.

Robert A. Cronkleton: 816-234-4261, @cronkb

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