Recently I attempted to check in 50 minutes prior to a US domestic flight. But I was denied checking my suitcase and was told by the airline employee that I could only check baggage up to 1 hour before a flight1. I was given the choice of taking my (full sized) suitcase on my original flight as hand luggage or rebooking on another, later flight. For various reasons I opted for the re-booking (which in hindsight made for a horrendous travel experience due to unrelated issues).
But I am curious to know how the TSA should have handled me attempting to take my suitcase through the TSA checkpoint. Being a full sized suitcase it would not have fitted through the X-Ray machine, and I am not even sure that they would have even allowed me to proceed through security with it2. I assume that there are probably hand search policies that they can apply, but this is so far out of my experience that I have no clue.
Can anyone explain what the TSA should3 have done in the case of me attempting to get a full-sized suitcase through a TSA security checkpoint when said suitcase would not fit through an x-ray machine?
Note that there was also nothing in my suitcase that I could not have taken onto the plane in hand luggage.
I am also guessing that taking my suitcase through security is actually less secure than checking it. My belief is that after a bag is checked that there should be some sort of automated scanning applied to it, but at the TSA checkpoint they could not do a similar level of scanning and would have to rely solely on visual inspections.
Can anyone tell me if I am right or wrong in this respect?
1. In subsequent emails with the airlines customer service, it was pointed out that this was a TSA rule and not an airline rule.
2. I have previously seen airlines/security aggressively enforce size and weight restrictions on standard carry on sized luggage before even getting to the TSA checkpoint. So I can't imagine what they would have thought seeing me dragging my "hand luggage" along
3. Note that I say
should rather than
would because I know how capricious the TSA can be.