Security screeners will randomly select passengers in terminals and swab their hands with a cloth. The cloth analyzed in a portable machine for explosive residue.
For the first time ever, airport security screeners will be able to take chemical swabs from passenger's hands at gates and security checkpoint lines using a mobile bomb detecting device, according to the Transportation Security Administration.
Security screeners will cart an Explosive Trace Detection unit around on a cart and randomly select passengers to check.
"The passengers will be asked to present their hands, we'll swab them very quickly with a soft cloth. The cloth will then be taken and analyzed in a machine, and it tells us if there is explosive residue on their hands," TSA spokeswoman Andrea McCauley said.
Five U.S. airports have been testing the equipment since a Christmas Day bomb scare on a flight to Detroit.
"Since December 25th, we've been enhancing our security measures at airports throughout the country, including random screenings at the checkpoints and at the gates," McCauley said.
TSA has been swabbing luggage for explosive residue for years but wanted to add another layer of security after the Christmas Day incident.
But passengers have mixed feelings about the new endeavor.
"I really don't know how to feel," said Diane Iocubucci-Burgers, who travels weekly for business. "I'm not completely against it, but I would hope there should be a different system that would allow them to do what they have to do and not slow down travel."
The bomb detecting device takes 10 seconds to read the cloth.
"The more, the better in my opinion," said Nancy Taffet, who travels frequently. "I don't understand anyone who would be opposed to that kind of checking."
Still, others say so going through so many procedures to get on a plane after 9/11 has become burdensome.
"I think it's important to a degree, but I'm afraid a lot of these procedures go a little overboard," Steve Adams said.