I recently flew from TPE and noticed that there, the baskets for the carry-on stuff that gets scanned are numbered:

enter image description here

I can't think of any reason why this would be useful. Can anyone explain?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Landside (as opposed to airside) questions are typically off-topic here and fit better on Travel.SE. The relevant help center example of being off-topic is, The "passenger aspects" of commercial air travel. $\endgroup$ – ymb1 Oct 18 '18 at 17:03
  • $\begingroup$ @ymb1 Was considering that, but decided to post here, because first, the question is more about the operational aspect (off-topic for the travel SE, because it does not affect my experience as a passenger), and second, there is an airport tag. $\endgroup$ – user63726 Oct 18 '18 at 17:13
  • $\begingroup$ If you browse the airport tag you'll find it's mostly airside questions. Anyway, SE works by voting. If the question gets closed, you can discuss it on our meta if you wish as discussions in comments typically lead to nowhere. (Remember, the aim of my comment is to get you the best possible answer.) $\endgroup$ – ymb1 Oct 18 '18 at 17:18

There are a few reasons that they would mark baskets.

Identifying Baskets Firstly, as a previous answer stated, numbering baskets ensures that the security staff can correctly identify baskets. If they need to pull a basket off, they can tell their colleagues the number, and their colleague can pull it. The alternative would be to remove it themselves. As security staff can be on either side of the scanner, this is much more efficient. A staff member may notice a suspicious person load a basket from one end, and they can request a staff member to staff on the other end.

Connecting Baskets to Passengers The more important reason for numbering baskets is to provide a way to connect baskets to passengers. Say the security staff finds something concerning in a bag, and they ask "whose bag is this?" - the terrorist/smuggler/criminal is not going to walk up and claim ownership! With the numbering system, cameras can be used to connect particular basket numbers with the person seen putting the items in. Next time you walk through TSA, look directly above each conveyor belt for the scanners - there is typically a camera with a topdown view.

| improve this answer | |
  • $\begingroup$ But with camera you don’t need number to connect passenger to the basket $\endgroup$ – vasin1987 Oct 18 '18 at 19:57
  • $\begingroup$ It's more meant in the fact that there are agents who are (supposed to be) watching via those cameras, and they can contact on radio, and say, "Check basket #4, owned by the guy in green jacket". I say "supposed to be", because it's been seen quite a few times recently that security personnel have been shirking some of those less supervised duties. $\endgroup$ – M28 Oct 18 '18 at 20:05

It makes it easier to pull a basket from the line. Its likely that those numbers show up on the X-Ray screen so that if the person watching sees something that needs inspection they can say

pull basket number 18

instead of,

i think thats the one to pull, it was 4 baskets after the one with the shoes and the laptop.

There are also ones are available now with RFID tags inside for a similar reason.

| improve this answer | |
  • $\begingroup$ That's also my suspicion. Any source? Or, more interestingly, any insight on how it works that the numbers appear on the screen? $\endgroup$ – user63726 Oct 18 '18 at 17:16
  • $\begingroup$ Metallic or similar label with cut outs for the numbers. The metal will block xrays, while the cut out let's them trough. $\endgroup$ – vidarlo Jan 18 '19 at 16:42

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.